Sunday, December 30, 2007

As the Clock Counts Down


This morning you would have thought it was spring here if it hadn't been for the temperature and the snow covered mountains in the distance. The sun was shining and Lucy was dancing to go out. I grabbed my camera and we headed out to the doggie park on the dikes in Steveston. I could not think of a better way to finish 2007 than with a day out side with my best friend and constant companion doing what we both love to do. She of course loves to run and play and I love to take photos. Mother nature could not have co-operated more. The sun glinted off the snow on the mountains and the bare trees looked elegant and stately against the deep blue sky. As we wandered the path I happened to look up and see what I thought at first was a Blue Heron's nest till I looked at the tree across from it and saw a pair of Eagles sitting like a comfy old married couple in the sunshine. Can't you just hear them chatting about the coming of spring and the possibilities of little ones in the nest! Don't they look peaceful and happy?
While I wandered in the sunshine snapping pictures I thought about the past year that seemed to see my life in turmoil from beginning to end. I realized that there were far more good things that happened than bad. I think that may have been a first for me. However, it is not the great year that my friend who is into Astrology predicted for me either. That I will be chatting with him about while he makes his predictions for me this year! Some of the things I have enjoyed most this year were hiking on Gambier Island and my winter trip to Montreal with my daughter Karen. And the many day trips with Lucy to take pictures brought me great joy and periods of relaxation when life was so stressful here.
I have to say though that many days just sitting down at the computer and reading some of the posts and comments by the friends I have on here gave moments of badly needed laughter and I found strength in the companionship of the people on here. It is a strange world that we create here on the world wide web! I find myself thinking about someone's struggle and I realize that my day isn't so bad after all and some days it is just nice knowing that someone in a different country in a different time zone is keeping their fingers crossed and saying their prayers for me.
I hope that 2008 brings all of you great joy and good health, and that you find yourselves surrounded everyday by friends and family who love you and just like that Eagle couple may you find peace and serenity in all areas of your life.
**I have put up a flikr badge with today's pictures.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Memories

It has been snowing all day long here. Not the nice white puffy kind, but the dark wet dreary kind and except for walking Lucy I have not ventured out all day. It is quite a relief actually as we have been on the go with family and friends for days on end. I started cleaning up some Christmas ornaments and putting them away when I came upon a box of my old Christmas toys from when I was a child. I took them one by one out of the box and looked at each one of them marveling at how much they meant to me as a child. They are just little tiny dolls. Some of them have movable eyes and some don't. Some dressed Christmas outfits and some not. Every year when I was a child the decorations would go up and then there was my little Christmas doll collection that I would play with and rearrange under the tree a hundred times before Christmas day. Then on Christmas day they would be abandoned for new brighter, bigger and better toys. Funny these little dolls have survived all these years and yet I can't even remember the other toys.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Christmas eve we awoke to a beautiful sunny day and Lucy and I went for a long walk in the canyon to get our heads cleared for the festivities ahead. It was supposed to tire Lucy out, but unfortunately it only seemed to make her more excited. It always amazes me how the animals seem to pick up on the holiday excitement! In the late afternoon I went to Legion to help serve a free Christmas dinner for those in need in our community and it was really great to see people having such a good time with their children especially knowing that may be the only thing some of those children will ever get this Christmas. It made me think back to a few of our Christmas celebrations and I realized that except for one very bleak year when we had absolutely nothing we have been very blessed.
Sometime while we were out the fat old guy in red pajama's paid us an early visit and left lots of goodies under our non-existent tree! As it appeared we had already passed the naughty or nice test we decided to toast the old guy with a wee drop of Christmas cheer leaving us all giddy with laughter and saying to hell with waiting till Christmas morning we ripped open our gifts at midnight. All of us got some really nice things and I especially feel spoiled. There were so many nice things, but one of my favorite's was the gift certificate for a Whale watching trip in the spring that my daughters gave me. As well Ray gave me a new office chair because as he put it "I can't stand to see you sitting in that old broken down lopsided thing you call a chair. He declared that I should put it out at the curb and let the neighbors have a good laugh. My daughters whole heartedly agreed with that , but I am very attached to that old chair and I may hide it in the basement! However I will agree that the new one is better for my back!
My friend Frances always spoils me rotten at Christmas as I so enjoy it. She sent me chocolate and earings and a necklace and jammies and so many lovely things. Every year I look forward to her gift because I know it is always sent with love. I hope she knows she is loved very much in return.
Today we take my aunt out for dinner to the hotel and then we are off to the movies for the evening.

I hope that what ever all of you are doing today that you have a safe and happy holiday.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Goodmorning - I Think!



The big night has come and gone!
Everyone had a rousing good time including me.
I was so tired I slept late.
My feet hurt and I am not going to the office to clean up till I have had at least 4 cups of coffee!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Whew!

This Christmas business is hard work! Tomorrow is my our open house at our office and I have worked on it for a couple of weeks. We have a ton of food coming and several businesses in the area have given us gift certificates to use for a draw. We use the draw to get people to bring food and toys for the Food bank and Christmas bureau. Last year we collected about 400 lbs of food and almost 50 gifts. So it is an important occasion and it spreads a lot of good will in the community. However it has been exhausting organizing that on top of the regular work. Tomorrow I will have an office full of volunteers though so the day should go smoothly. Huh -fat chance! I am planning on having a good time however.
Lucy is missing her time with me and I have no time to take pictures of her in her Christmas attire. Shhh don't tell her, but I did go and get her a bed fit for a princess for her Christmas present.
I have been too tired at night to even think about posting much and tonight is no exception, but I found this Christmas funny that I wanted to share.For some very strange reason this just cracked me up.
I hope that every one is having a great deal of fun with Christmas and not getting too stressed out. Remember the reason for the season!
Cheers!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Everyone Knows at Least One....


horses ass!

Way to Go Girls!

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, While both male and female reindeer grow antlers in the summer each year, male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late November to mid-December. Female reindeer retain their antlers till after they give birth in the spring.
Therefore according to every historical rendition depicting Santa's reindeer, EVERY one of them from Rudolph to Blitzen had to be a girl.
We should have known only WOMEN would be able to drag a fat-ass man in a red velvet suit all around the world in one night and not get lost.

Being too tired and too busy to post anything of my own making I thought I would give you all a Christmas chuckle.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Remembering the Reason for the Season!

This
Christmas
end a quarrel.
Share a treasure.
Seek out a forgotten
friend. Write a love letter.
Dismiss suspicion and replace
it with trust. Give a soft answer.
Encourage youth. Manifest loyalty in
word and deed. Keep a promise. Find time.
Forego a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Listen.
Apologize if you were wrong. Try to understand.
Flout envy. Examine your demands on others. Think
first of someone else. Appreciate. Be kind. Be gentle.
Laugh a little. Laugh a little more. Learn to love yourself.
Take up arms against malice. Decry complacency. Express
gratitude. Go to church. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart
of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of each moment.

Speak your love.
Speak it again.

O N L Y L O V E
P R E V A I L S

I have no idea who wrote this , but every year I drag this out when things get hectic and crazy. I need to remind myself that there is a purpose in the season. Reading this always makes me stop and think about those around me. I hope that it does the same for some of you experiencing the same maddness that Christmas always seems to bring.
Remember to be good to yourself and stop and give a loved one a hug, say a kind word to a neighbor, remember a friend who is struggling.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Well Look !

Lucy and I are a cartoon couple!
I got this at the Surrey Chamber reception and I just took a good look at it. The guy did me a favor - knocked off about 20 years I would say! I think I want to be a cartoon forever!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Holy Moly!

Where on earth does the time go?! I feel as though the weekend should be just starting instead of over!
So... a little recap of my week and weekend.
Wednesday the boss lady took us all to the Surrey Board of Trade Christmas reception at the Sheraton Hotel. The theme was Christmas in India and as this was a reception not a dinner they actually served butter chicken on skewers along with pakoras and tandoori chicken - delicious! Not to mention the free crantini's in martini glasses that had lights in the stems!
Thursday I went to the US for a couple of hours of shopping and didn't get much of anything as they are charging too much for exchange so next time I will get US currency before I go. Yeah I know guys it is hard to take the fact that our dollar is worth that much, but really it is so get over it!
Friday we had our constituency Christmas dinner and dance. It was a lot of good fun. Here is my good friend Ray cuddling up to my boss. I think the Tie AND the hat was little over kill Ray!
Saturday was a lovely sunny day, but cold. Lucy and I headed to the canyon for a wonderful hour and a half walk. The fragrance of the trees on a crisp winter day and the sounds of the creek grumbling its way down to the bog was so relaxing and as there was little time for walking Lucy this past week she was exhuberant to be out there with me. I should have taken the camera, but I promised myself that Sunday I would take the girl and go some place beautiful and shoot pictures. Then in the afternoon I drove all the way over to my friend Diane Thorne's office in Maillardville to visit her at her open house. Then I picked up my Aunt, hooked up with my daughter and took Auntie to dinner. I feel so bad asI have not had time to see her for weeks.
Here she is with a big smile almost 87 years old.! God I hope I do that well when I am her age! I told her to get her dancing shoes on as we are taking her to the Executive hotel for Christmas dinner!
Last night I collapsed into bed over joyed at the thought of a morning with Lucy snapping pictures, but she and I woke up to freezing cold and snow (GROAN). We did not get much snow, but it was nasty weather. Dark and cloudy and really really cold so we settled on another walk in the canyon and a car ride to the shopping center.
Tonight I brought out the decorations and started doing a little of that. Believe me this year a little will have to do.
In between all of those things I have been wrapping and mailing parcels and trying to write out Christmas cards and now Sunday night is here and I have a 6 am Monday morning to face. I will be so glad when Santa finally gets on that damn sleigh of his and we can get this ho ho ho stuff behind us for another year.







Oh yes and looky what the Canadian government came through with for me. Thank you Mr. Harper if things get rough here in Canada (and I am quite sure if you get re elected things will get tough)I can now get on a plane and fly to some other country.
I have come to the conclusion that passports don' t mean that you are a good person, it just means that you haven't gotten caught yet!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Happy Hanukkah!

It is Hanukkah for our Jewish friends and neighbors. I thought I would shmooze about some interesting facts about this Jewish Holiday.
  • In Hebrew, the word "Hanukkah" means "dedication.
  • Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days and nights, starting on the 25th of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar (which is November-December on the Gregorian calendar).
  • The holiday commemorates the re dedication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem after the Jews' 165 B.C.E. victory over the Hellenist Syrians. Antiochus, the Greek King of Syria, outlawed Jewish rituals and ordered the Jews to worship Greek gods.
I am such a schmuck and it is so shmaltzy, but here is what I knew about Hanukkah before tonight:
  • They make and eat lots of potato latkes and cheese blintzes
I am so meshugah!
Shalom


Monday, December 03, 2007

What Next? Frogs or Locust?

Yesterday we had about 6 inches of snow in the driveway. It did not quit snowing most of the day before and all day yesterday. However late yesterday afternoon it all changed around and the snow turned to rain and right now it is raining so hard that the roads are flooded and some highways are closed! The weather man told us this would happen, but me ever the skeptic thought that was ridiculous and chose to shovel my driveway instead of waiting for it to be washed away like the rest of my neighbors. I will just tell everyone I needed the exercise.
The weekend snow fall gave me a much needed break as all the functions I was to go to were canceled and I spent most of th weekend getting caught up on housework and some office stuff. However yesterday, despite the snow, I spent part of the day outside with Lucy. Lucy as you can imagine loves the snow and her favorite game in the snow is snow soccer!
Later in the afternoon we went to the Canyon with my friend Chris and his dog Kiera. It was like walking through a fairy land with all the trees covered in snow. The branches were so loaded down it covered the path and if I had not been there many times I would have easily lost my way. I took the camera, but the weather was so nasty I did not get very good pictures as I was afraid to expose my camera for any length of time. I fell several times and came home soaking wet!
Today we are supposed to have winds of 80k to go along with the floods!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Only 22 Shopping Days Till Christmas!

That's what I heard on the radio today as I was getting ready to attack the snow that was piling up in my drive way for the last two days. So armed with my neighbors snow shovel in one hand and Lucy on a lead in the other I headed out to the front driveway. It was freezing out there and I was miserable. I hate the cold here in the lower mainland. It is so damp that it goes right through you. That made me think of another news article that had come out this week. A recent survey found that by a conservative estimate there are 10,580 people in our province homeless! It is shocking really. I could not imagine being out in this cold all day long looking for a place to lay my head come evening time. As well another study this past month says that we have the highest rate of child poverty in the country! Can you believe that 21% of children in BC live in poverty and the numbers are growing. Even with 22 more shopping days to go I doubt that these children will be getting much for Christmas this year. This puts Christmas and the season of greed a little more into perspective and I have a few suggestions for having a great Christmas while giving others one too!
  • Ask your children what they are giving this year instead of what they are wanting to get.
  • Volunteer as a family for a soup kitchen or homeless shelter
  • Invite the neighbors in for coffee and cookies and ask them to bring a food item for the local food bank.
  • If you know of a family that is struggling this Christmas invite them for dinner over the holidays. Make extra and pack up the left overs for them to take home with them.
  • Adopt a family and get the whole family involved in creating a great Christmas for a needy family in your community. Most social agencies have lists of needy families.
  • Give tickets to a special Christmas performance to someone who couldn't otherwise afford to go.
I am sure there are dozens more things that could be added to the list and you guys will come up with some unique ones just for your community. Then when the season is over write your MLA and Premier Campbell and ask them what is going on? Demand that they take some action to increase affordable housing in the Province and to find out why so many children in our province are going to school hungry everyday.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

It's That Time of Year!

Every year Christmas begins for me when I get Frances gifts from England. I never open them till Christmas day, but almost every year she sends me a stuffie that isn't wrapped and it is like getting a hug from England. Last year it was Sir Humphrey Hug and he sits on my desk in his own rocking chair. I only have to look at him to feel better about my day. This year she has sent me a beautiful soft cuddly elephant with a heart that says "I Love You Loads"! I am not sure if Frances knows about my love of elephants. When I was a little girl I had a stuffed Elephant. I called him BoBo and I never put him down. I lost him for a few decades and then about ten years ago he was returned to me. He was thread bare and even more battered than I remembered, but he was BoBo. I put him away because I was afraid that he would just crumple away if he was touched too much. I have always resisted buying a new one because it wouldn't seem the same somehow. However this elephant can fill the boots of BoBo!
So now it is official the start of the Christmas season! I have presents to wrap and cards to write and today it is snowing so that seems like a good day to get started.

Good news! My camera is back in time for Christmas and if the lens button will stay on through the holidays I will consider that a break! As for that passport.... it appears to be shuffling from one bureaucrats desk to another still!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

2010 Mascots?

Here they are Miga the Sea Bear, Quatchi the Sasquatch and Sumi the Thunderbird the new mascots for the 2010 Olympics. Miga is supposed to be a combination of an orca and a sea otter. Quatchi the Sasquatch... well he is supposed to be a Sasquatch. Something one or two people in this province claim to have seen usually after a night at the local bar. Sumi is supposed to be an animal guardian spirit?! They are not what I was expecting and hoping for. There was a rumor that the Spirit Bear or Kermode Bear, a rare white bear found in the central coast of our province that is almost extinct, would be the mascot and I was thinking how great that would be. It would not only be a wonderful souvenir it could also educate people as well. Instead we have these guys and I am not really sure I am into it. I am sure that they will appeal to kids and if the ultimate goal and final decision was to make money then this may be the way. However I would have liked visitors to our province to take away some of the flavor of who we are and what we are all about. I don't think this does it. What do you think?

Ooops! Now how did I forget - there is also Mukmuk who is ???? a mascot wanna be? Apparently he won't be showing up much (ya think! I couldn't find a picture of him) he is the first official sidekick for mascots?!?!? Now isn't that clever? I think.

Monday, November 26, 2007

What a difference a Day Makes!


Yesterday the sun was shining beautifully and my daughter pointed out that last year on this weekend we had 18 cm of snow and the power was out in many places in the lower mainland because of snow and winds. Today we awoke to the opposite of yesterday. It was dark, cold and and dank. By afternoon the snow had started in many places and tonight it is that nasty sloppy muck. Hard to walk in and even harder to drive in. Lot's of fender benders around as west coasters never get used to driving in this kind of stuff.
While surfing the net the other day I came across this picture and had to take a second look. It is done by Del Prete he does subliminal art and at first glance this looks like a naked lady pinning up a sheer curtain, but if you look more closely you will see what it really is.
I am an artist wanna be . I have not got the time to really do much with painting or sketching, but I always do line drawings on note pads and memos while I in meetings or on the telephone. One day I will have time to pursue this art in the meantime I will envy people like Del Prete!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Catch Up!

I can't begin to tell you what all I have been doing since the last real post. There was the NDP convention that took a great deal of energy and left me emotionally drained. It was my first and I am not sure I want to do another.
Then last week was a steep learning curve at work. Lots of new things happening and lots of new people in my life. I like the diversity of the work I do, but at times I long for order and routine.
Friday I went to Bellingham on what I now know was Black Friday! Who knew that Black Friday was the largest shopping day in the US?!?!? I think I am the only woman in Canada who did not know that! Why on earth didn't they name it Shop Till you Drop Day or Sit in Traffic Day! Because that is exactly what I did - sit in traffic. It took me almost two hours to cross the border back into Canada. Good thing I had Miss Lucy to keep me company. Even she was glad to be home after that trek. I also had Lorelei's camera and took this picture on the drive down. It was one of those frosty November mornings and in places there was so much frost that it looked like it had snowed.However, by the time I had reached Bellingham the sky was clear and the sun was shining. The autumn colors made a dramatic splash against the green of the evergreen trees and the blue sky. I loved it and would have loved to have been able to spend the day taking pictures. Speaking of pictures - the lastest word on my camera from Black's Photography shop is that definitely MAYBE my camera is being fixed under warranty in Toronto. This is according to Karen who believe it or not has been the most helpful of the employees I have spoken to there. She also told me if I hadn't heard anything in a couple of weeks to by all means call back and feel free to get more non information! So how's that for service after they have had my camera for a month?
My daughters birthday dinner did not happen as planned (does anything happen as planned?) on Saturday night. So we improvised and ended up going for a very late dinner to the Swiss Chalet. She and I polished off the best part of a bottle of wine together and giggled our way home.
Today was a day of running from one thing to the next. A meeting for a planned future fund raiser. A quick trip to a wonderful yearly craft fair where I bought not much of anything except a pair of tacky Christmas earings. Tacky enough to handle all those Christmas open houses that are piling up in my date book for the month of December!
This coming week I have promised myself more order and discipline in all things! Wish me luck!


Saturday, November 24, 2007

I've Been Tagged!


Ha! and it couldn't be a better one. My friend Drowsey Monkey, who has a great blog, tag me with the blue tea pot meme.
The Rules: List 5 to 10 courses you'd like to take to improve your life. Include one you'd like to take with the friend who passed this on to you, and then tag 5 others. All this is optional, so participate if you want
  1. The first course I would like to take is a creative writing course to see if I have any creativity in me or if I am just as black and white as I think I am.
  2. I would like to take a web design course because I have always wanted to design a web site and I have encouraged every one I know to design a web site but I have never done it because I am a perfectionist and think I will do the whole thing wrong so I won't attempt it at all!!
  3. I would like to take a photography course so I could figure out how to capture the beauty of nature better!
  4. I would love to take an art course with Drowsy Monkey, because she does some lovely work and if she has only had one formal class then I know I could learn a lot just by being with her and I love her sense of humour so not only would I learn a lot I think she would be a lot of fun to take a course with.
  5. I would like to take a Tai Chi class. I have watched Tai Chi being done by groups in the parks around here in the summer and I have read a great deal about it. I think there are over 140 moves, but if you only learn 50 of them it is like having a complete workout because Tai Chi uses your mind and your body in perfect symmetry to create the perfect mind body work out.
  1. Frances at Gone Weird
  2. Lorelei at Musings
  3. Sheena
  4. fdtate
  5. Woman with A Hatchet

Thanks for the tag Drowsey Monkey! I always say that my blogging friends know just what is needed!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

HAPPY THANKS GIVING AMERICA!

To Stuff & Roast a Turkey
from : American Cookery. By Amelia Simmons, 1796.

The Great American Turkey Exhibit.
One Pound soft wheat bread,3 ounces beef suet, 3 eggs, a little sweet thyme, sweet marjoram, pepper and salt, and some add a gill of wine; fill the bird therewith and sew up, hang down to a steady solid fire, basting frequently with salt and water, and roast until a steam emits from the breast, put one third of a pound of butter into the gravy, dust flour over the bird and baste with the grave; serve up with boiled onions and cranberry-sauce, mangoes, pickles or celery.t-ballous.JPG (74451 bytes)























Monday, November 12, 2007

Remembrance Day Weekend

This was me at the start of a really long weekend. I was dead beat on Friday so Saturday I spent the day doing girly things. You know - hair, clothes shopping, a trip to the local craft fair with my daughters and lunch out. It revived me enough to get up and going the next morning for a very chilly day at the Whalley Cenotaph. It was windy and bitterly damp cold as we stood remembering the brave men and women who gave so much for this country. Many of them gave their lives so that we could enjoy the freedom we have today.
Here three of our dignitaries Penny Priddy, federal MP. Sue Hammell, MLA Surrey Greentimers & Bruce Ralston, MLA Surrey Whalley.
Yesterday I was planning on spending the day outdoors with Lucy, but I got up to find that high winds had taken out the power in many places in the lower mainland and at 9 am ours went out as well. In Some areas the wind reach 110k. I went out in the car for awhile as it was freezing cold in the house. Most of the groceries stores in our area were closed because they had no power and I even had to drive for a bit to find some place to buy gas. Around three o
clock our power was restored only to have it go down again in the evening and not come on till after midnight.
I am always amazed at the power of these winds. They can bring down huge trees in minutes. Here if you follow red line you will see the tree hanging over the power lines. The entire road had been blocked off with yellow tape so people would not drive on it, but as you can see some people feel that they are invincible (or they are just plain stupid)and drive right through the yellow tape!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Remembrance Day 11/11


IN FLANDERS FIELDS

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
the torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

by John McCrae

Friday, November 09, 2007

HAPPY DIWALI

HAPPY DIWALI TO ALL MY SOUTH ASIAN FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS!
Today is the start of the South Asian festival Diwali. Diwali means "rows of lighted lamps" and is often referred to as the Festival of Lights.
I live in a multi-cultural neighborhood and all around me lights will be lit and fireworks will be going off tonight in celebration. The celebration is very important and equal in importance to Christmas for Christians. The holiday falls on a different date in some parts of India, but is always celebrated in the months of October or November.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Seven Percent of American Women Would Not Vote A Woman for President!

Now this is exactly what I was talking about yesterday!
Reuters carried a story today about women's interest in the upcoming US Presidential election. The article states one in four women are more interested in the 2008 race because Hillary Clinton is running for President and one in four women also said they were more likely to vote for that very same reason. Now that is a good thing, but the troubling part of the poll was the seven percent of women who would not vote for a woman for president no matter what their political affiliation.
I have to ask "What is wrong with you women?" "Haven't you any loyalty to your fellow sisters?"
After all it was that sisterhood that got you the right to vote in the first place. It was a women, Rosa Parks, that got blacks the right to ride at the front of the bus because she felt equal to both men and women of any color!
Historically women have worked hard to make Canada and the US the great countries that they are today.
Ladies.... think about this. Do you really believe the fairy tale you have been told since birth that because you were born with a vagina instead of penis you are incapable doing what a man does? If you really believe this try telling it to the women in Iraq who are fighting side by side with the men to supposedly defend and protect your country from terrorists.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Belonging to the Sisterhood

Today I found some time to play and with the help of Lorelei over at Musings I managed to figure out how to change my own blog template! Sheesh I am so proud of myself I feel just like I did in kindergarten when I learned how to tie my own shoes! And it was about as difficult too!
Today on Musings Lorelei was talking about all the different jobs she has done and what she is planning to do in the future. This got me thinking about the many jobs that women do and have done in this world. Today we theoretically can do almost anything we want. Things like building trades and steel work are readily open to women who want to take it up. While I was thinking about all of this I happened to visit Sheena Wilkie's blogsite. Sheena is a professional photographer in my area and often does videos and pictures that centre around women. I found a video, that she has created, on her site all about women's work. It is beautiful and many of the women in it are known to me. It made me realize how important it is for women to be part of the sisterhood. To stand up for and support each other in order to bring equality and justice for women not just in North America , but around the world.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

LNG...Progress or Disaster in the Making?

Most people on the west coast of British Columbia have a love affair with the ocean and all that it means to their life. The people who live on the small islands that dot the coast are even more passionate about life on the water front and develop a lifestyle that is somewhat different from those on the mainland. They are less concerned with the material things and more concerned with the creative side of life. They enjoy the solitiude that island life gives and they find creative inspiration in the beauty and serenity that surrounds them on all sides.
The residents of Texada Island, off the coast of Powell River, have been told that big business is moving in and they fear that their way of life will be lost forever. Westpac is planning on putting a Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) import terminal and natural gas-fired generation facility at Kiddie Point. The Island is somewhat divided. There are those who feel that this might bring jobs so their kids can stay on the island instead of having to go to the mainland to find decent work, but there are others who feel like Andrew J. and Pam Mackenzie who wrote this very emotional statement on Texada LNG News "It feels like rape--something very nasty and totally unacceptable being forced on someone"
Having grown up on the west coast water front I understand their passion. Even though I don't live there any more I can' t bear the thought of ruining such a beautiful pristine area and I wonder what will happen if we have an accident at this plant. My friend who I have known almost all my life lives on Texada. Jamie and his wife Heather built their own home on the island and raised their two boys there. Jamie is a folk singer - song writer and he has written the following poem to express his feelings about the LNG.
Gas Pains

Its you and me and LNG
Yes indeed the gas
Extra mental pain it is insane
Somethings are hard to pass
Some players tell you what sounds good
Promise you the moon
But truth be known Bucks the spud
and the loonie calls the tune
So what about the other things
About the lives we live
Why must we dance on strings
and lose what we can't give
And who has got the right now
Cram this down our throats
Lets have a referendum
And see if this ship floats
by Jamie Nuotio

Monday, November 05, 2007

It's Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night

"Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why Gunpowder Treason
Should Ever be forgot"


It is Guy Fawkes Night in England. A day when the British celebrate the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 when a number of Roman Catholics, including Guy Fawkes, tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament to protest the Protestant aristocracy that controlled England at the time.
The day is celebrated primarily in England, but also in some areas of Canada, US & New Zealand. The event is celebrated with bonfires, fireworks and a traditionally burning in effigy of Guy Fawkes. However in York, England ,home of Guy Fawkes, the town does not allow the night to be celebrated because no one is willing to take on the chore of finding a way to safely accommodate large groups of people with fireworks and bonfires.
Apparently their fears are well founded as two houses in New Zealand , according to the NZ Herald, were gutted by fires from the celebratory bonfires there.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Weekends Never Last Long Enough!

I can't believe that it is Sunday night already and I haven't even posted since Friday!!
Friday Lorelei over at Musings sent me her old camera because she got a new one and my camera is at the repair shop. I am very grateful to her as I need this camera for work right now as well as to satisfy my addiction.
I was so excited that I took it to dinner with me and snapped pictures of plates and things. (I told you I was addicted to cameras). I could barely wait till I had a few hours to get out and snap pictures. Today I got my chance and I drove with Miss Lucy to the Fraser Valley and snapped pictures of everything on the way!
The Valley was particularly beautiful today. The sun was out and despite the fact that it is the beginning of November it was warm. Winter change was every where though. The mountains have just a dusting of snow on the very tops. The trees are almost bare having lost their glorious leaves in the fall breezes. The fish are spawning and the river banks are lined with their spent carcasses. The Eagles have returned to the Fraser to nest and breed till next spring. Yes everything is getting ready to settle for the winter. That is what I would like to do. Curl up and hibernate till next Spring. I envy bears. They get to pig out all summer getting fat as pigs and then sleep it all off till spring when they get up slim and start all over again. What a life!
Setting Sun
I took lots of pictures and I will put up a flickr badge

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Have they just "flocked off"?

I was up before the birds and the sun to get in line at the passport office. Because I was lucky enough to have a bright orange ticket I was whisked into the elevator along with one other lucky person to take our places at the front of the line. My papers were fondled and rubbed (my birth certificate had a crease in it apparently) and finally declared good enough to be sent off to for final approval and all going well and the bureaucrat that gets to check my references being in a good mood my passport should be in the mail within five weeks. I will keep my fingers crossed!
On the way to the passport office in an effort to keep myself awake I turned the radio to the Phillip Till morning show on CKNW. Phillip always has an unusual news story to share with his listeners. This morning it was about a flock of 90 sheep that just disappeared from a pasture in Switzerland. All sorts of possibilities flood one's mind about this incident. Perhaps a UFO sucked them up to examine them or maybe they just heard how good roast lamb is with mint sauce. I know there are days when I could eat a flock myself. Maybe there were just rustled like cattle are sometimes. However, one listener felt he had the inside scoop and e-mailed Philip to suggest that the sheep had not really disappeared they just "flocked off to greener pastures" .

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Problem with Mondays

I took yesterday as a day off spending the time with friends in the morning for brunch and shopping with my daughter in the afternoon. I cut Miss Lucy's walk very short as she is having Halloween jitters from the fireworks going off. Last year they made them illegal so now we only have a couple of weeks of them instead of a whole month!
Monday arrived, complete with our usual west coast rain, all too quickly for me this morning. Rolling out of bed before six I asked myself when it was that I started to feel like crap every morning. There was a time I only felt that way when I was hung over. Now, my head may not ache, but everything else sure does.
In desperate need of coffee I decided to try and hold together the pieces of the electric coffee maker ( I burned the bottom out of it this weekend. Domestic goddess I am not! ) in order to jump start my body with caffeine. Having accomplished this feat I left the house armed with an extra large thermos cup and feeling as though I might make it through the day after all. However, not long after I got on the road I took a big gulp only to discover I had left the lid slightly undone. I spilled half of it on myself and the car console requiring me to stop and mop up all the while asking myself when I would learn that I am incapable of drinking coffee in moving vehicles or when walking or anything other than sitting down for that matter.
While the rest of the day went pretty well, I realized that part of the problem with Monday morning is that there are four more mornings before the weekend!
Ah well.... Tuesday is another day and come to think of it another attempt at the dreaded passport office.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I Have a Confession To Make...

I am a camera addict! Today the weather here was very nice for this time of year. In west coast language that means that it was not raining for a change and as I have had a hectic week and not given Miss Lucy as much time as she would have liked so I thought I would treat her and myself and take her to Kilby for a swim. However, it occurred to me that I would not be able to take any pictures out there what with my camera having been sent to intensive care in Toronto so I borrowed a camera. Yes! I am ashamed to admit it, but I did. I tried to tell myself that I could make it through the day without slamming on the brakes on the car and laying in ditches trying to get just the right angle, but it was hopeless. I knew I would have been totally lost out there with out being able to take pictures. I am ashamed to admit it, but I have to - I am a camera addict.
It is a good thing I borrowed the camera though because I found this really neat old barn .
And then this lovely sunset on the way home!
I returned the camera and next week I am really going to seek help before this becomes a crisis!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Beautiful Night on the West Coast!


Found this on Big Wave Dave's web cam site from Victoria. It was taken an hour ago and it made me long for the beach.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Think Pets are Easier Than Having Kids?

Top Ten most common items surgically removed from pets' gastrointestinal tracts:
  1. Socks
  2. Underwear
  3. Pantyhose
  4. Rocks
  5. Balls
  6. Chew Toys
  7. Corncobs
  8. Bones
  9. Hair ties/ribbon
  10. Sticks
The list also included pagers, hearing aids, drywall, batteries, rubber bands, toy cars and sand with bacon grease poured on it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Ain't This The Truth!

From the New Westminster Record newspaper October 24,2007

Integration vs Assimilation

We have a debate going on in our country right now. Some people feel we should not grant immigration to people who cannot speak functional English. Their argument for this is that immigrants without English language skills are unable to understand our country or converse well enough to function in daily life. As well because these immigrants lack these skills it is believed that they are more likely to cost the country money and less likely to contribute to our country. What those purporting to support this have forgotten is that our country is bilingual having French as our official language as well as English.
The Parti Que'be'cois, a separatist political party that advocates national sovereignty for Quebec and secession from Canada, has not forgotten however and they are promoting a policy that would see non French speaking Quebec residents denied the right to vote simply because they cannot read or write French functionally and are therefore incapable of understanding the issues that face the people of Quebec well enough to cast a vote.
Two very similar views for very similar reasons? Could it be that the Parti Quebecois is demonstrating prejudice towards English speaking Canadians in the same way that some English speaking Canadians are demonstrating prejudice towards non English speaking immigrants?
One of the things I have always liked about Canada is it's diversity. As a child it was thrilling to come to China town and see all the shops with dried herbs and teas and Chinese lanterns. I still remember eating at Ho Inn's right in the heart of China town and having servers who spoke little or no English, but worked hard and served us with dignity and pride even taking time to write the kids names on napkins in Chinese. We would treasure these scraps of paper fascinated by the Chinese characters and trying desperately to copy them ourselves. When, as a young woman I had the opportunity to move to this city and work I liked nothing better than to head over to the Italian district on the Drive on my day off and buy sausage,breads and cheese all sold to me by a vendor who spoke poor English, but managed to bring smiles to everyones face.
The lower mainland is filled with people from other countries who have different cultures, different religions, different types of dress, different foods and yes different languages, but that is exactly what our country has always been about diversity.
For me celebrating that diversity with people from other countries has brought me great joy. It has allowed me to learn more about the world and the people in it than any books or classes could ever have taught me.
Living in a country with two official languages, one of which I can't speak, has been a challenge. However when I visited Quebec this past winter I began to understand the rich culture and way of life that the francophone s are trying desperately to hang on to.
What I think both groups have lost sight of is that this country is big enough to handle the differences between all of us.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Still No Passport!

I was up, dressed and at the passport office fifteen minutes after they opened. I only had to wait about 20 minutes to get to a wicket. Every one who works there from the security guard to the clerks are very helpful and pleasant. However, the rules have all changed as of October 1st!! Of course they have now why didn't I think of that?????
The guarantor no longer needs to be in a profession, but all guarantors have to supply THEIR passport information! Something my boss didn't do because he said he had never had to do that before and he has signed dozens of them. So.... no cigar or rather passport! However I did get a bright orange paper and they told me that if I am at the office with the changes made when they open that little orange paper will give me the right to bypass everyone in the line and go straight to the IDIOTS WHO DIDN'T HAVE THEIR PAPERS FILLED OUT PROPERLY IN THE FIRST PLACE line! Says it should not take more than half an hour if I do what they tell me. Believe me I am listening.
  • Words of wisdom for the week. When tired and in a hurry and confused do not put your full coffee cup inside your purse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

I've got the Passport Blues

I KNOW EXACTLY HOW THIS GUY FEELS!
Getting my passport has become a year long challenge. First I got my pictures and paper work almost ready and then never got a chance to get my guarantor before summer and my pictures expired and I had to start all over again.
Then I discovered while my guarantor was signing the papers this time that every piece of ID I have except for my birth certificate has my first and middle names reversed because my first name is such a dumb ass name (no I am not telling) that I have never ever in my life used it! That apparently may be enough to get me denied a passport until my ID matches my birth certificate, but the only way to find that out is to stand in a line up for about two hours. All this is thanks to the fact that the US has decided we cannot fly into the US with out a passport, but until January of next year we can drive over the border, park and fly anywhere in the US we want we just can't fly home because they won't let us on the airplane! However, after January 08 we cannot cross the border with out our passports and god help any Americans who happen to end up in our country with our theirs because they will not be allowed home and that has created a nightmare of huge lineups at the passport office!
Today I went down to the passport office, with possibly defective paperwork ,only to find out that I could not find a parking space because there were oh... about 50 - 75 people standing in the pouring rain under soggy umbrellas waiting to do the same thing I was there for!
There is always tomorrow! Maybe... I am beginning to feel like an alien in my own country.
After all I have been traveling across the border between Canada and the US since I was 17 years old. Believe me there are a few video cameras in Harrahs in Reno that have my picture while they were asking me to leave because I was underage that will attest to this!
I have always felt like Americans were my close relations and I, like many Canadians loved to go and spend money there. Not so any more. It is too much trouble.
Despite the fact that I look nothing like any terrorist I have ever seen on TV or the movies and despite the fact that the only legal infraction that I have ever committed in my life was a $25.00 speeding ticket in Florida (Well the only thing I have ever been caught at) the border guards are not friendly. No more smiling or friendly have a nice day from most of them. Instead we get interrogated on a regular basis. This I credit to the nasty rumors that George Bush spread about his brothers and sisters to the north at a time when we, as good relatives should do, were digging deep into our pockets and hearts to send aid in a time of crises for our neighbors and friends.
Now don't get me wrong. I think that we need to have security in both directions. I think that we all need to be looking after our collective asses these days (thanks in part to you know who and now our dear leader Harper is now also getting into the act), but for pity sakes friends if I have not blown anything up, stolen anything, grown weed, sold crack or sold government secrets by this age chances are I am not going to.
Please give me a break! It makes no sense to me that I have to put out over a $100.00 and several hours of my time just to get a piece of official paper that was acquired using the very same ID I have been showing you all these years to cross the border with anyway!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A Camera Let Down

Saturday morning I got up early and headed out to the Women's Fair in Abbostford excited about getting some eye candy in the form of those hunky firemen and I had promised Lorelei over at Musings some pictures and I just knew she was waiting anxiously for them! Much to my delight this year the Purex Toilet tissue had guys dressed (or should I say undressed) only in terry robes and slippers at the entrance way handing out samples of toilet paper. While my daughter got in line to pick up tickets I whipped out my camera to get a picture of this particularly good looking guy in a bathrobe thinking hubahuba my lucky day only to discover that my lens button was missing on my camera!?!?!? Talk about misfire!! Fortunately my daughter searched around and found the missing piece, but it was impossible to take any pictures there with it. The fair was fun even still with lots of goodies being handed out. I especially like the samples of the wine and shooters. I liked it so much I got in line twice. What the heck I had to drown my sorry over my camera somehow especially when I passed the table with all those good looking firemen signing calendars. I almost cried... only because I had promised Lorelei some of those pictures and I know just how badly I was letting her down. After all how many good looking firemen can live in Podunk USA? Sorry Lorelei - maybe next year :(
After the fair we headed over to celebrate Eid with Sitara a good friend of my daughters. Every year we get asked to this and I always marvel at how different cultures celebrate. According to the Muslim religion, after the fast of Ramadan, all Muslims are supposed to put on a feast and give one third to the poor and one third to their friends and family and one third then goes to themselves and I can tell you they take this very seriously. This family actually rents a hall and prepares for days to put this feast on. Quite amazing considering while they are buying and cooking for this they are not allowed to eat or drink until after sundown every day!
I love to see the outfits that these beautiful women wear to this event. They are so elaborate with bright colors and intricate bead work. As well, many of the ladies including Sitara wear eye popping jewelery. This year the men were wearing Kandura's or dishdash as they are sometimes called. This is a long white cloak and is typical male attire in the UAE . The men were also wearing the Guthra the headscarf worn by the men and wrapped with Egal, the black rope. It was a very colorful and interesting affair and the food was delicious. I was so disappointed in not being able to get pictures that I spent some time fiddling with the lens button finally managing to snap these few pictures before my camera quit again!!

What ever will I do without my camera for the next six to eight weeks???
Grrrr Sony I want you to know I am not happy about this!!!


Friday, October 19, 2007

T.G.I.F!!!!!

It has been a frantic week and the weekend doesn't look like it will be much quieter just more fun I hope!
Tonight I am going to a Taste of British dinner. It is a fund raiser for the Surrey Green Timbers constituency , but for the first time in two years I am not going to work it! I get to sit with the people, chat and eat my dinner. I feel like I have just graduated or something?!
Tomorrow it is the West Coast Women's Fair. This is the event my daughter and I look forward to all year. It is so much fun there and most years the Fire Fighters turn up to entertain the ladies. I am soooo looking forward to it.
Later that afternoon my family is attending a friends Muslim Eid celebration which marks the end of Ramadan.
Our weather is supposed to be miserable. With parts of the province seeing quite a bit of snow. For us ? You guessed it MORE RAIN!!
Have a good weekend !