Saturday, May 31, 2003

Duncan say's I can have any color I want...

I am very partial to the orange, but that pink is pretty darn cool as well (When Duncan originally bought my game boy advance he had wanted to buy pink but they were all sold out). And that yellow is awesome... sooooo many pretty colors.... which should I pick???

Today we spent some time at the Public Library after going out for lunch, and I carried home The Corrections (by Jonathan Franzen), A Nation Too Good to Lose (by Joe Clark), Communication Miracles for Couples (by Jonathan Robinson) and Esquire's pocketbook of wisdom... What Every Man Should Know About Marriage (by Scott Omelianuk). The little marriage book is chalk full of bachelor type humor and with just a glance I can see that there's gonna be some laughs going through that one with Duncan.

We are still watching the federal PC Leadership convention (they are going to a fourth ballot now, between McKay and Prentice) and the hockey game is just starting. But I have to admit, my heart just isn't into it this year. We are talking about going to the neighbourhood bar to watch it, but I could take it or leave it. I feel the sacracity of the Stanley Cup's be tarnished this year and I am feeling a little brusied, in that choir boy kind of way.....

Friday, May 30, 2003

Zen and the art of day maintenance

Every once in a while you have to take a day off from the world.

Duncan had a few important errands at the university to get done this morning for his Master's application (which is off and sent now... YAY!!!) and we had to go downtown to buy bus tickets for our upcoming Red Deer trip... With the weather so fabulous we decided to play hookey with the rest of the day. We walked along the river to downtown and partook in an amazing lunch at a lovely Italian resturant (I had a great tomato salad with soup), where we ate outside on the patio, drank wine, shared dessert and relished in an afternoon of each other's company and stories. Duncan is delightful. Truly. I love him so much!

Then we thought we should extend the day of hookey to the kids (it's only fair, heh?) and we busted them out of school early and we all went back downtown to catch the late afternoon show of Finding Nemo at Eau Claire mall. We laughed, we cried, we all had a good time. It's a great movie - all about parental love (and what every parent will go through for their kids), courage, friendship, learning how to trust and to let go. And, it's funny too! Afterwards we got the kids ice cream cones and walked through Prince's Island Park, back along the river into Kensington. We were able to grab some pizza to bring home for dinner before catching the bus home. Devon's coming over tonight to hang out (I won't say that he is going through Zelda withdrawals and needs to get a fix, but... ummm... oh, oh well). The kids are home for part of tomorrow (their Dad had to work) so no one is in a rush even now.

It's been a wonderful day!

Thursday, May 29, 2003

something completely boring......

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me lay an invincible summer”
- Albert Camus

It was an amazing walk to work this morning – there is something to be said about that great contrast between feeling the morning sun on your face and then the coolness on your skin as you walk through the early morning shade, and then sunshine again. That dreamy promise in the new, crisp morning air that is tempered only by the encroaching warmth of the day. That glorious, almost luxurious feel of the spring wind, which across my tanned skin that feels like a caress as it lifts up my hair…. The playful memory of my lover’s early morning touch… That happy, giddy feeling inside of me that comes from being in love, and being loved in return. – life is so good! It was one of those mornings where I was suspected I was five minutes late for work, but didn’t care…

Since I was a small child I have always been a sun worshipper, soaking it up where ever possible, basking in the sun’s glory, adoring the feel of it’s warmth on my skin. I am definitely a creature that belongs outside. That being said, Duncan and I get our bikes out of the shop today and I can’t wait!

The weather is refreshing, finally, after such a long winter, like a release that has set us free. The Canadian winter is long, sometimes hard, and we pass the time together inside; snuggled on the couch, fires in the fireplace, movies, video games, and the things that other Canadian couples do when the mercury drops to harrowing depths (you know, like play hockey!)….

It’s great that everyone around me is so happy… it’s like this bubbly intoxicating feeling inside that sings to me, and I know that nothing could dampen it. It’s nice for everyone to be in such a good mood – Duncan’s excitement is contagious and the kids are so full of anticipation they are sure they can can see Summer Vacation from where they are today!

I am almost finished reading the last of the two books I have been reading lately – the first was Blackbird: A Childhood Lost and Found, and the second, the sequel to Blackbird, is called Still Waters. Both written by Jennifer Lauck, they are the story of her lifetime from her earliest memories, detailing (sometimes shockingly unbelievable and sad) events that she had to muster courage enough just to survive. It’s a powerful story, but not necessarily because of everything that has happened to her, but because it’s her story and she is telling it. Because she empowers herself in it’s sharing, and refuses to keep the secrets any longer. She is owning her responsibility and letting everyone else own their’s. She shows us the way. It's an important lesson for us, as we nestle comfortably into a society that tends to hide more in denial and blame than in anything else. It truly is compelling when you can accept responsibilty for yourself, your own life and pull yourself out of the blame game that some people get so caught up in they stay there, victims for life. Don't be a martyr or a casualty. Command your life and it's outcomes, now. And enjoy doing it (winks)!

"Blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these broken wings and learn to fly..... "

Well, it's my lunch break, so I am off to sit in the sun, finish my book AND daydream happily about where this summer will take me, and my family. Let the adventures begin!

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Who can say why your heart sighs...?

I SO want one of THESE! It puts the sizzle back into hot new trend!

Sunday, May 25, 2003

I love Sundays...

My favourite day of the week usually begins with our custom ritual of going to coffee and sharing the newspaper together. For over a year now we have been going, every Sunday (even at Christmas), to a small but enjoyable coffee shop in our community. Nice couches, nice art, nice people, nice food, nice music, no franchises... except for today, when a big yellow sign was posted on the window declaring that they will now be closed EVERY Sunday. Every Sunday means we now have to find somewhere else for Sunday morning rituals and I have mixed feelings about that. I am trying to ignore the low level feelings of disappointment and lots of me thinks that customs need a little shake up now and then anyways or they are in danger of becoming the mundane. So this morning we went to the little Great Canadian Bagel shop just across the highway. Duncan's Dad came with us (Duncan and his family are having a memorial day today for his Uncle Colin) and it was mostly enjoyable, but it's not the same. It will do until we decide where else we are going to take our business. We do have another favourite coffee shop over by Duncan's office, it's called Weeds, that we have been going to for a long time as well, but its a ways away so we haven't decided if thats where Sunday coffee will be partaken or not. Still mixed feelings abide, but that is what life is all about isn't it?

So this huge wasp just flew right in my door. It's like they know that I am allergic to both bees and wasps (and after being stung last year I have been left with a legacy of extreme respect).... So, while keeping my distance and attempting to will it back out the door (Use the force...) I am also stuck trying to impress upon our big and fearless Huntress that a) it will hurt if she actually catches it, and b) she's on her own....

Anyways, as I have enjoyed an enormous amount of time in the sun (and have the workings of a great tan), today I was going to spend some time updating both my blog profile and my home pages. Currently I don't seem to be able to access my blog template so I might do a bit on the home page and then go out in the sun yet again.

Saturday, May 24, 2003

Raven's Dance Recital

More pictures can be viewed in our online albums. Be sure to select the "show all" option in order to see the entire contents of the folder you wish to view.

Think about may not realize it, but its 100% true.

1) At least 2 people in this world love you so much they would die for you.

2) At least 15 people in this world love you in some way.

3) The only reason anyone would ever hate you is because they want to be just like you.

4 ) A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don't like you.

5) Every night, SOMEONE thinks about you before they go to sleep.

6) You mean the world to someone.

7) If not for you, someone may not be living.

8) You are special and unique.

9) Someone that you don't even know exists, loves you.

10) When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good comes from it.

11) When you think the world has turned its back on you, take a look: you most likely turned your back on the world.

12) When you think you have no chance of getting what you want, you probably won't get it, but if you believe in yourself, probably sooner or later, you will get it.

13) Always remember the compliments you received. Forget the rude remarks.

14) Always tell someone how you feel about them; you will feel much better when they know.

15) If you have a great friend take a time to let them know they are GREAT!

This just in (courtesy of the ever popular, back by international demand, Iraqi Information minister)

Above strangled, painful shrieks of disbelief emanating from the community of Varsity in Calgary Alberta, the Iraqi Information Minister was heard today proclaiming that:

The Senators have indeed slaughtered the Imperialist Devils - 47 to 0 (holding up his fingers in the shape of a zero), in a gloriously played, regulation time, Game Seven. The Senators will proceed to the Stanley Cup finals where they will be victorious and win the Stanley Cup. The Senators will not be defeated, in fact they have already achieved victory! Do not believe the American Infidels whose lying media will have you believe that the Devils won Game Seven! They are all dogs… Imperialist Dogs, I say! Long Live the Ottawa Senators! (dramatic pause) Let the American Infidels bask in their illusions while you celebrate the truth".


Here’s a thought… should a team with a disturbing rendering of a jason-wanna-be duck mask on their jersey play for the most Holy Stanley Cup? And if they do get their “Hollywood” ending, will we suffer through another Disney Movie??? Mighty Ducks: The Real Stanley Quack

A few curve balls here and there….

Sometimes life is full of surprises. When adventure beckons one must be careful not to deny the heart. Do so and you will discover the futility of living (or not living) your life.

In life there are things you want, and things you need, and things you dream about... but they aren’t always different - and they aren’t always the same.... and deferring one for another doesn’t mean you are giving it up. I always want my life to be an adventure! More on this later...

Girls game too, bitch…

Duncan sent me this little foray into E3 from a feminine point of view; written by self proclaimed “fan girl” Rebecca Saschenbrecker, her article, titled E3 – The Revenge of the Sequels, contained the following paragraph, which I will share with you…

"They, at least, were honest about their booth babes by putting them in tight shirts with “Booth Babe” written right on it. They were giggling and passing out fake tattoos trying to entice people to come and get a real one. Right before I left the show they had dressed up a charismatic old lady in their tight shirt and shorts and had her roaming around trying to give boys fake tattoos as a bit for the Jimmy Kimmel Show. When the camera wasn’t on them, the guys were mean to her. I felt badly for the rather charming old lady so I walked up to her while the camera was on the two bubbly blondes and asked for a tattoo. The director saw me and snipped, “No Girls.” There you have it. They don’t want fan girls on camera, just boys and hotties. I am shy to begin with and I had spent most of the day avoiding cameras, both professional and personal. I hope the camera caught my finger. Girls game too, bitch".

Oh yeah, and pictures should be posted tomorrow, relatively speaking!

Thursday, May 22, 2003


Wednesday, May 21, 2003

If we weren't meant to eat Animals why are they made out of meat?

Two cows are standing in a meadow talking to each other, and obviously distressed the one cow says to her friend, “are you worried about Mad Cow Disease?”. The other cow, looking thoughtful for a moment, replied, “no, I am a helicopter….”

Are we going Mad over Mad Cow Disease?

Since the big UK Mad Cow scares and then the Elk in Northern Alberta in 1997-2002, what maybe should have seemed inevitable has occurred. Actually, from what I understand this is not the first time Mad Cow Disease has been in Alberta (ca. 1993)
And likely we shouldn’t be surprised. As much as efforts may appear stringent to guard against BSE, the truth remains that infected cattle feed was imported to our country at a high rate before anyone was aware of the potential for contamination, and really less then 1000 cattle have been destroyed since it was discovered that BSE could cross species to humans to become a new variant of the Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).
We all know that there are cracks, and that yes, a whole cow can slip through them.

For now, and of as yesterday, one case of confirmed BSE is being dealt with by our authorities. If BSE has been within our Canadian food chain since 1993, and cows were processed before their symptoms were allowed to appear, then we will begin to see cases of vCJD in Canadians within the next couple of years, as it takes the disease approx 10 years to manifest within an infected person (but in kills in only two). In the middle of last year a Saskatchewan man died from vCJD but it was originally assumed he contracted it on a trip to Europe.

If this has been in our food chain for 10 years already then there really isn’t much we can do to lessen our risk so far because any harm has already been done. For now, people are avoiding beef, but those fruits and vegetables look better everyday….

Not quite ready, aye...

I really enjoyed the way this article illustrates the feelings of the majority of Canadians who, while supporting the war on terrorism, were unable to condone or justify an invasion of Iraq based on the evidence that had been presented, and why the differences of thought occur between American and Canadian citizens. It certainly expresses what I sometimes strive to articulate when my views are questioned or challenged, so I will reprint it here for you to read.

This article was written by MICHAEL ADAMS on Tuesday, May 20th 2003, for the Globe and Mail. Michael Adams is President of the Environics (research) group of companies and author of Fire and Ice: The United States, Canada and the Myth of Converging Values, published by Penguin this month.

Neighbours growing apart

Nothing in history is inevitable. But I believe the U.S. decision to invade Iraq — and Canada's decision not to participate — both make sense in the context of the increasingly divergent values of the people of the two nations.

Since the early 1980s in Canada and the early 1990s in the United States, my colleagues and I have been tracking the social values of North Americans. For us, values are the beliefs that motivate people to behave the way they do in their roles as parents, employees, consumers and citizens. Our research was conducted before 9/11 and before the United States, in defiance of the United Nations Security Council, led coalition forces into a war of regime change in Iraq.

Even before these momentous events, our research was showing us the cultural seeds of divergent American and Canadian decisions. In 41 of the 56 comparable trends in our data, we found strong evidence of dissimilar values in Canada and the U.S. On 24 trends, the gap actually widened between 1992 and 2000. At a time when the political, economic and technological forces of globalization suggested convergence, Canadians' social values were becoming more distinct from those of Americans.

The portrait of these two distinct societies of North America starts with a comparison of their religious convictions. We know that Christian fundamentalism has far deeper and more enduring roots in the U.S., particularly in the Bible Belt, than in Canada. Yet not so long ago, we were more conventionally religious. In the mid-1950s, 60 per cent of Canadians told pollsters they went to church each Sunday; the proportion in the U.S. then was only 50 per cent. Today, only a fifth of Canadians claim weekly church attendance, whereas the proportion in the U.S. is four in 10. A 2002 Pew Research Center poll found religion to be important to six in 10 Americans (the highest proportion of all the developed nations it surveyed) and to only three in 10 Canadians, a rate similar to that found in Britain and Italy. In less than a generation, Canadians have evolved from being much more religious than Americans to being much less religious.

When President George W. Bush inadvertently referred to American plans for the Middle East as a "crusade," he was speaking to the majority of his citizens who see the war in Iraq as fulfilling biblical prophecies. Only a small proportion of Canadians hold these same views (there is not even consensus among practising Christians). Our leaders invoke not the Christian God but the secular principles and the man-made rules of international law.

Since the 1950s, many Canadians have begun to replace traditional religious authority with either secular humanism or more personal spirituality. Americans seem to cling to institutions, particularly religious institutions as anchors in a chaotic, Darwinian society.

Further evidence of Canadians' growing predilection for personal autonomy over institutional authority is their orientation to leadership. When asked whether decisions in an organization should be made by one person or as many people as possible, 28 per cent of Canadians in 1996 preferred one person. We found a similar proportion in 2000. In the U.S., the story was marginally different in 1996 (31 per cent wanted the leader to make the decisions), but significantly different in 2000 when 38 per cent wanted the boss to decide.

All this deference to authority south of the border was registered before 9/11. After those terrorist attacks, the proportion of Americans wanting their commander-in-chief to take change has gone through the roof. Canada has seen no similar surge in support for dirigiste leadership.

To monitor orientation to nationalism, we asked respondents in each country if they enjoyed showing foreigners how much smarter and stronger "we" are than "they." Reflecting our increasingly modest place on this planet, only 17 per cent of Canadians in 1992 said they enjoyed demonstrating Canadian superiority, a proportion that dropped to 14 per cent in 2000. Consistent with the view from CNN and Fox News, the numbers in the U.S. are much higher: 27 per cent in 1992, and 31 per cent in 2000, more than double the proportion in Canada.

American deference to patriarchal and hierarchical authority in the hyperpatriotic post-9/11 environment has led to much rallying about the flag. Even half of Democrats polled feel it is unpatriotic to question their president, and the American Civil Liberties Union warns of a climate of severely muffled dissent and debate in that country. Just ask the Dixie Chicks.

Canada has a leader of the opposition whose job it is to question the prime minister and his government. Not questioning the prime minister is seen as a failure if not of democratic verve, then of intelligence. Who is the leader of the opposition in the United States — Michael Moore? Our research suggests that it is the supposedly bold, individualistic Americans who are the nodding conformists, and the supposedly shy, deferential and law-abiding Canadians who are most likely to assert their personal autonomy and political agency.

In U.S. politics, to quote political sociologist Ben Wattenberg, "values matter most." The strongest values of Bush supporters in the 2000 campaign in our research had to do with family, ethics, religiosity, duty and propriety. True to the values he stressed in pre-9/11 America, the newly elected President instituted a suit-and-tie dress code in the White House and cut off foreign aid to groups that might counsel abortion as an option in family planning.

In 2000, the U.S. electoral system elected a president predisposed to moralism, religiosity and patriarchal authority. He seemed at sea until that day when 19 fanatical disciples of Osama bin Laden hijacked those airplanes. Suddenly, he was in a presidential role not seen since Dec. 7, 1941, when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, in a revenge movie whose plot is familiar: Establish moral superiority, wait for provocation — and blow them away.

North of the border, meanwhile, Canadians responded to 9/11 with heartfelt sympathy and outrage, but also with many questions. They asked why young Muslims would do what they did in New York and Washington. Canadians supported their government's decision to participate in the war on terrorism, but, like many around the world, did not think the U.S. government had made a convincing case for the invasion of Iraq. Moreover, they were determined to support the UN. The individual autonomy Canadians wanted for themselves, they also wanted for their government.

Values do matter most.

And the large and widening gap between the values of ordinary Canadians and Americans — and between the governments both societies elect or choose — have never been more apparent than in the post-9/11 world.

The minority of Canadians who say "Ready, aye, ready" in support of America's global Monroe Doctrine will remain a minority and are fortunate to live in a country where minority opinion is encouraged.

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Damn Electronic Crack...

OK, OK... so this morning (after a late night and even much ado in the sack) I woke up at 7:00am. 7:00am! On a Sunday. Tired, groggy, but obviously unable to sleep, my mind racing... thinking... something... wake up more so I can remember... oh yeah! The store opens at 7:00am and today is the only day I can buy turnips for trading on the stock market. Must get up..... must hurry!

Sigh... yes, so I played for two hours, mostly because Duncan was still asleep so there was no competition. I am hungry, ready to start my day - I need some real world time now, so, when I can convince Duncan to stop playing as well, we will go to coffee, as usual, and read the paper. You know.. that thing with all sorts of news and stories about life going on all around you when you are too... err, busy to notice.

Well, briefly I should note that Raven's recitals (she danced in two) went well. We were all very proud of her! She was very beautiful, and I will eventually go to pick up the pictures today, have them scanned and posted on the net soon for your viewing approval.

Saturday, May 17, 2003

Welcome to your new life!

In my "real" life, I am a firm believer that while one travels along the journey of life you don't actually ever "begin" or "end" parts of said life, you just progress along to different degrees, and in differing directions as new challenges, opportunites and or paths arise. I have personally so far led a very full and interesting life, and whilst many events/people have graced my life that may have appeared to alter it, it is still part of the normal continuous cycle of my lifetime. My life is a work in progress, an artform, an expression of who I am at any given time. My life has always been a real world illustration of my dreams, my goals, my issues/causes, my loves and who I want to be in my world. I reject any notions that a life should be lived in any or one certain way, to one set of standards, with one set of goals and with no room to grow and/or expand. I have never been perfect - but there is a difference between being perfect and perfectly living. No matter what terrible/funny/amazing things may have happened to me along my path (my friends sometimes encourage me to write a book...), I am happy and am able to encorporate all my experiences into the well rounded, well adjusted, fun and happy person I am today. But... what if lives could be randomly begun?

Lately a strange phenomenon has overtaken my family.

We are living shadow lives in a sort of in-the-closet way. "Pretend" lives, lives that aren't easy to talk about in certain company given the propensity to be misunderstood or teased. Yet we have all been gripped by it - addicted to it in a fashion that it calls to us, permeates our dreams and our waking thoughts, influences how we see the world around us and conquers our efforts to resist or repel it. Lives that should be fine to live, should be proud to talk about, should be eventually accepted to the status quo... yet some how the normalcy of it remains just out of our reach...

We willingly get up early in the morning to participate in our new community, we eagerly return home from our days anticipating special events and or recieving/discovering something new about the community we share in this life we are creating together, the four of us. We have even begun to reschedule "real" world because of "new" life demands. We are hooked in deeper than I ever imagined would be possible. I am ofcourse, talking about the recent introduction of Nintendo's Animal Crossing into our vast library of video games (aka electronic crack).

We each have a character and a house in our Animal Crossing town, which Duncan named Bag End. Duncan and I share an island getaway which I named Hawaii (since I am so looking forward to going there soon) and our combined repetoire of cash/items/skills grows as each minute we live in... err, I mean, play in, Bag End. However, this is a game that never ends. You can't finish it. Nintendo's success has been that it is programed to real time, our time, to the very day. The store is only open from 7:00 am - 11:00pm, people sleep at night, certain animals/fish/bugs only come out at certain times of the day, there are seasons, there are moods, an economy to participate in, loans to repay, a stock market, items to collect, a black market, jobs (missions) to be completed AND day specific events (like mothers/fathers day, christmas, halloween, sale days, certain days fruit grows, etc etc) that you have to actually wait for that calendar day to arrive to enjoy.

In an odd way, it gently (but surprisingly quickly) begins to mess with your head... Things we see in the "outside" and "real" world are related to what we do/see/hear in our Animal Crossing world, and visa versa. I sopose anyone who has played Diablo, or another type of role playing game may understand this type of intergration... but it is met with some humor as well as some trepidation at the way it has become so quickly ingrained in our lives. And don't ask me which life, cause I don't know if I could make a distinction at this time. Regardless, Nintendo is a master, and has more then artfully captured what makes a good game, and it has captured us. Yesterday as a gift, Duncan bought me the Nintendo guide to Animal Crossing. Opening the book revealed a simple yet profound statement on the inside cover...

It reads: "Welcome to your new life". Yep, they know what they are doing alright.

So, I guess if you lose contact with us or we seem to randomly disappear, then maybe some sort of rescue team should be dispatched, or a crisis addiction team, or maybe even the real world police should be made to pay us a visit. Anyways, it's my turn after Duncan finishes so I must get going now...

So here I sit this morning, with a hankering to blog... but really it is my first morning off in a while, and every other part of me wants a break. Nevertheless, it has been a busy busy week - and it actually is a break for me, if you can call a weekend a break based soley on its own merit and not on the activities planned for such weekend.

Thursday evening we were at our PC Calgary Varsity AGM, with our Minister, Murray Smith. It was actually a joint AGM hosted by us and three other constituencies were invited as well. Premier Ralph Klein came and he spoke to us for a while. I am reminded at times like this how much I like Premier Klein - I grew up in BC Politics, many a few Premier's in my time I have met and endured... I understand and know what it is like to live in a place of mismanagement and bad governance, and because of that I appreciate all the more what Premier Klein and his government has been able to do here in Alberta for the people of Alberta. No one agrees 100% of the time with government policy and no one is ever 100% happy with the actions of government 100% of the time, but the PC Party in Alberta's got it going on. It's good here in Alberta, so many different ways and they are all going up. Regardless, it was a good AGM, I became an elected member of the Calgary Varsity Consituency (there is one volunteer position for the next year, but volunteering should be another blog altogether), and it was an evening of fun and networking.

Last night was my friend Debbie's birthday party so a bunch of us met at Earls for dinner (which was incredibly good!) and then eventually most of us headed out to Coyotes, a club downtown (formely known as Desparados). I was impatient for the dancing to begin, which it finally did... it was an interesting club (the night we were there the dance music seemed to be all remixed 80's and 90's music, which thrilled Debbie to no end). My throat still hurts a bit from all that smoke on the dance floor (what is that stuff anyways?) but it was good to get to dance again. I say more please.

Today is Raven's Dance Recital. It is what she lives for, dances for all year. This year she is dancing the Barbie Nutcracker and she is Barbie. The costume is not quite traditional ballet (which I must admit I prefer), it is a long pink dress with frilly stuff. I will post pictures when I get them developed. Her Dad is bringing her home soon so I can begin to get her ready (she needs her hair completely up in a bun and make up applied) and I need to duck out to Walmart to grab a couple of things (pink nylons for the recital -yes for her- and a disposable camera). She has two shows today but Duncan and I have tickets for the afternoon show (beginning at 1:00pm!). Duncan hasn't arisen yet from his slumber after a hard night out, but soon, I hope, shall he stir. Maybe we will grab a quick breakfast out if he wakes up in time.

Thank goodness this is a long weekend. Thats all I have to say about that.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

"It's like wiping my ass with silk....."

Duncan and I watched the first showing of the MATRIX RELOADED (late Wednesday evening). Awesome. It has great car chase and fight scenes... and a few surprises. Reviews have been mixed, but I liked it. We are eagerly anticipating the next one (as it is so obviously the second part...) and I have been lamenting most of the day today about how far away it actually is.

Well I didn't feel well enough to go to work today, not sure exactly whats wrong, but hopefully just one of those 24 hour things. I am a big suck when I am sick, like to be pampered and all that good stuff. Anyways, as much as I want to blog more I must getting on with preparing for my evening out tonight. So all of you who can get tickets - I suggest an evening of fun with a friend viewing the Matrix Reloaded. Check out the animatrix before you go see the movie!

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

What friends do you have?

This was sent to me by one of my friends over email today.

You might be best friends one year,
pretty good friends the next year,
don't talk that often the next year,
and don't want to talk at all the year after that.
So, I just wanted to say,
even if I never talk to you again in my life,
you are special to me and you have made a difference in my life,
I look up to you, respect you, and truly cherish you.

It has made me think how blessed I am, and have been, in my life with friends. Not just any kind of friend (you know those fair weather people who abandon you when things go bad) but those true and beautiful people who are honestly friends, come what may. People have commented in my life about my ability to make friends, and I must admit that I have led a gifted life when it comes to people who love me. During the course of my life, most of my friends have moved on to different parts of the country, or even the world, and yet when we do talk, no matter what the length of time has elapsed since we last conversed, it is like we were never apart. Friends like that know you, the real you, and still love you. My life is blessed.

I wish there was someway I could actually adequatley thank all of my friends, show them what a gift they have been to me... but I am not sure that there are any other ways beyond being a good friend in return. So, for all you friends out there reading this, Thank you. Know you are loved, and in some cases, missed.

Monday, May 12, 2003

Alarm bells should be ringing....

For all you ladies out there who are considering, or have used, dating services or online mate finding programs, THIS IS THE TYPE OF GUY YOU ARE MEETING. Beware.

This "guy" doesn't need a wife, he needs a dog. But I would still worry for the security of the poor animal with this.... "guy".

Any time, any place, Summer Rain

For the haplessly bored (ahem, Ruth, coff coff), you too can try out the "Sloginator" courtesy of The Surrealist. Here are the other slogans it generated for me...

Wait until we get our summer rain on you
Summer Rain saves your soul
You're Never Alone with a Summer Rain.
Good Honest Summer Rain Since 1972
Summer Rain, Take Me Away
Good Things Happen After a Summer Rain
Out Of The Strong Came Forth Summer Rain

Sunday, May 11, 2003

I didn't ask to be a princess, but if the crown fits.......

Happy Mother's Day to ME!!! Happy Mother's Day to ME!!!

Yes it is Mother's Day isn't it? You can tell by the way my hair is adorned with a delicate array of colorful and ornate handmade hair clips while my children smile proudly about their well recieved handywork. You can tell by the card my son made me, with a burning "fire sunflower" on its cover and sweet words on the inside:


Loves Raven
Loves Wesley

Dear mom
You are as sweet as sugar, as delicate as a rose. You have the cuteist tinted brown eyes.
Love Wes

Enter the toothfairy.... Raven just lost her first tooth! One more thing to celebrate today - in addition to Lauren's 21st Birthday, which we are all hurridley preparing for... and we will spend the afternoon and evening at a family BBQ (mMMmMmM BBQ) in honor of Lauren and Mother's day.

So in other news, our lives have become intermingled with our pretend world that we have created in Animal Crossing. It is an amazingly (surprisingly even) addictive game that all four of us play together, but at different times, so you can imagine that Game Cube time has now hit a new premium... But it is a family activity so we are all having fun with it.

Oh yes, and more of a "couples" activity, the link of the day is THE CHURCH OF TANTRA. Only view this link if you are prepared for it to be about SEX, because it is. Oh ya, and enjoy!

Saturday, May 10, 2003

Flying by the seat of my pants

As with everything in life, some lessons are easy, while others are learnt the hard way. Some things have been fun, others hard, while others still intriguing as a new challenge. I still haven't decided if it is the job for me (and it was always soposed to be a summer job anyways), but here is a brief summary of what I have discovered/learnt so far during my first week as a bike courier.

1. ALWAYS listen to your boyfriend when he says new shoes won’t be comfortable for work that day
2. Curbs and stairs are not to be considered impediments to progress
3. Follow the path of least resistance
4. Your Dispatcher is an omnipotent god (Just don't tell him I said that)
5. Common sense isn’t
6. If you are going to leave something behind, it will inevitably be the $300.00 pair of Oakley sunglasses you need for riding. Go back quickly!
7. Bike couriers are the fastest way to get a package delivered downtown and everyone knows it
8. There are a lot of bike couriers downtown
9. Being a bike courier is a very competitive venture
10. Everyone I meet says they want my job
11. Merging into downtown traffic is like a knife cutting through butter
12. ALWAYS look over your shoulder
13. Remember to lock your bike even when in a hurry
14. Unlock your bike before attempting to ride away
15. NEVER turn the wrong way down a One Way Street
16. Buses ALWAYS have the right of way, even when they don’t
17. Cars have brakes and will use them as necessary
18. Most buildings have mailrooms to drop stuff at and no one will take it anywhere else
19. Finding mailrooms is not always easy
20. Revolving doors are the bain of my existence
21. There is a coffee shop in every building
22. There are beautiful offices downtown and the views are awesome
23. There is a lot of unused/unleased office space downtown
24. There are NO public bathrooms
25. Security is unbelievably extreme, everything and everyone is locked up
26. There is a lot of “art” downtown
27. Downtown has it’s very own culture
28. You can buy anything you want downtown (three words: Mountain Equipment Co-op)
29. Most elevators have TV’s in them
30. There really aren’t 13th floors in most buildings
31. Not all elevators go to every floor in the building. Serious. Finding the right elevator is half the battle.
32. Boy bikers think girl bikers are hot
33. Boys in general seem to think girl bikers are hot
34. If I look lost, someone will appear to tell me where to go
35. Just because you are a courier doesn’t mean you are given the right address
36. Just because you have an address doesn’t mean it actually exists
37. The client is always right. No, really… even if they are a hag. Just smile nicely.
38. Never be surprised as anything that can happen, will
39. Other bike courier companies will actively attempt to recruit you

Friday, May 09, 2003

"Whatever the answer, it's an indisputable fact that sharing the world has never been one of humanity's defining attributes."

Wow. We just saw X2. X-citing. X-tradordinary. X-ceptional. X-treme. Duncan, Deven and I X-tremely enjoyed X2. Go see it. And I mean now.

In other news, the Federal Progressive Conservative Party Deputy Leader, Elsie Wayne, made some hideously bigotted and hateful comments yesterday, in the House of Commons.

"When it comes to people who wish to live together, whether they are women or men, why do they have to be out here in the public always debating that they want to call it marriage? Why are they in parades? Why are they dressed up as women on floats... Why do they have to go around trying to get a whole lot of publicity? If they are going to live together, they can go live together and shut up about it. There is not any need for this nonsense whatsoever and we should not have to tolerate it in Canada."

Not have to tolerate it in Canada? Excuse me? I don't think that these comments have anything to do with toleration - In fact, perhaps the exact opposite is obvious here.... The best thing about living in a country like Canada is the freedom of democratic thought and being able to petition for change when change is needed.

The Rt. Hon. Joe Clark, Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada (whom I am a big fan of) rebuked Wayne, which caused her to "show remorse", but remorse is not good enough for the damage that has been done, not only to herself, but to all Canadians. Go ahead and let Ms Wayne know how you feel about her disdain of people excersing their democratic rights.

One can only hope that antiquated ideas such as the ones expressed by Wayne die out as her generation does.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

Rags and Riches

There is an education to be had on the streets of downtown Calgary.

There is so much money flowing in those high rise downtown buildings. It's obvious everywhere, the people, the clothes, the offices, the cars, even the elevators (which have TV's in them). It's corporate capitalism at it's most successful. Yet all around the bases of these buildings, there are homeless people. All kinds of homeless people - ranging from retired old men spending their days collecting bottles from the garbage cans to people outright sleeping on the streets (snow collecting on thier blankets as they sleep beside shopping carts full of their stuff). Unlike others who may briefly journey through downtown, this contrast is something I have been unable to avoid; and for me it is vivid and ever present. I go in and I come out. Both worlds continually confront my senses.

Yesterday when I was delivering something on Stephen Avenue Mall an older man beside me had found a strawberry in the garbage can. He thought this was splendid, and lifted it up in its precious glory with a huge smile on his face. And then he did something I would never have expected - he offered it to me. Ofcourse, not given to taking food from strangers or eating out of the garbage, I declined, but the offer struck me... Here is someone who looks forward to finding such treasures as left over sandwich garnishes, in the garbage, and yet was still willing to offer it away to someone who could eat wherever she wanted. It was completely selfless. Gave me both something to think about and something to aspire too.

Compassion and generousity are arts that sometimes I think we lose sight of in this fast paced competition driven world of ours. During that brief moment in time, there was the weirdness of the proposed transaction, but in retrospect he offered me a greater gift than just a prized strawberry that day.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Whether you think you can, or you think you can't - you're right!

Caught that little gem in a cafe/bookstore I was grabbing a hot chocolate in (ok ok, truth be told I was taking a break before riding up the hill into NW Calgary.... not usually something I do, but after riding for 8.5 -9 hours today already, I needed to muster up some energy. Regardless, it was a good excuse to go into a book store I haven't been in before. Ofcourse, once being in a bookstore one must buy a book. I found one for the kids, called The Song Within my Heart.

So, today was hard... not bad, just hard... mostly because I was already sore and didn't relish the idea of riding home after riding all day. I can't wait for the day when my muscles get back into shape and barely notice me using them! Well anyways, I am gonna look into a bike locker downtown if I am going to stay a while with this job. It would be nice just to come home when I am done and enjoy my evenings! There certainly are aspects of the job I really like (like being able to ride and still make money, the downtown climate/culture, limited responsibilty, improved biking skills, coffee shops EVERYWHERE, time alone for thinking, seeing how tough I am, PLUS I lost 5 pounds already) so I haven't actually decided yet what I want to do about it. Everyone says it takes about a month to decide if you like it or not (and by then I won't hurt anymore). Anyways, I will blog more about it on the weekend (Yay mother's day... any day that people pay attention to me isn't that bad!) but for now I am just too tired and want to spend some time with Duncan.

Today my family was given a pass to Heritage Park. I am sure we will be able to spend a few days there, enjoying ourselves - once the (insert fancy expletive of your choice here) weather clears up!

And back by popular demand - ADCRITIC! Increase your viewing pleasure!

Oh, and by the way Joel, good luck! Let me know what they said!

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Growing up Blind and Resilient

My friend Eileen has written a book, it is being bound as I blog and will be available for sales soon. Eileen has worked with the CNIB for as long as I can remember.

For those interested, the CNIB has agreed to purchase seventy-five print books at $14.98 (Canadian) each (includes tax). These will be distributed to CNIB offices across Canada and CNIB will pay the cost of shipment.

And the reviews: Author Betty Wilson said: "Isabel makes a poignant and spunky statement". Jill Aigner OSB commented: “Reads like a novel but is informative about the history of Canada.”

I always like bragging on behalf of my friends when they do something worthwhile. Oh, and by the way, Duncan ate a spider once.

Monday, May 05, 2003

Well I survived my first day as a bike courier - which given the state of the weather is no particularily small feat. However brief this may be, I discovered today that working as a bike courier is like being on a road trip with yourself. I will have some time on my hands to philosphize and entertain wonderment. Anyways, I am tired and just a wee bit sore, so I will leave it at that. Good Night all!

Saturday, May 03, 2003


Well, it is unique. So here it is, sent to me by Elizabeth the Beautiful....

1. Full Name: Allison Jean Smyth
2. Were you named after anyone? Yes. I was named Allison after my Dad’s mom Alice, and he gave me the middle name of Jean so my initials would be the same as his Dad’s – Albert Joseph. Actually, my name was supposed to be Jeannie Rebecca (Jeannie after my mom’s best friend) but my dad didn’t like that name, so he went off and registered me with Allison Jean, a name he said he expected I could be Prime Minister with. I have oft considered legally changing my name to Allie Joe (middle name suggested long ago by Duncan. My name is due for a name change soon anyways, so we will see what happens.
3. Do you wish on stars? Yes… I am both the hopeless romantic and avid star gazer!
4. Which finger is your favourite? My favourite? Any finger wrapped around Duncan's?
5. When did you last cry? Duncan says it was a morning a last week on the way to breakfast. I t doesn’t really matter when, just that my tears get kissed away!
6. Do you like your handwriting? Yes I do, and others comment on it.
7. What happened to number 7? It's my favorite number, but no question....
8. Any bad habits? Well.. I maybe spend too much time on the internet…
9. What is your most embarrassing CD on the shelf? *Cringing*… MC Hammer was cool once…
10. If you were another person, would you be friends with you? I like me. I think friendship is an art, and if the quality of friends I have is a measure of what type of friend I am able to be, them yes, I would certainly be my friend!
11. Are you a daredevil? Yes, a regular risk taker and adrenaline junkie. If you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much space! See my dare list!
12. Do looks matter? Matter? I appreciate beauty the same as the next person, but what really carries a person forward is their inner beauty.
13. No 13 either, must be unlucky...
14. Have you ever mis-used a word and it sounded absolutely stupid? I spend too much time on the internet. I am guilty of using chat expressions in real life. Those who realize it laugh. Those who don’t just wonder…
15. Do you believe there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? I think the rainbow is treasure enough. No point in being greedy.
16. Do fish have feelings? I have had many fish in my life and seen them exhibit hunger and fear and even meanness. But I saw something really amazing when I had my first small fish tank when I was young, with an arrangement of different types of goldfish in it. One day one of these fish was so sick that it couldn’t swim to the top of the water to feed. The other fish eventually swam down to him, got underneath him and lifted him up to the top so he could eat. That demonstrated more than just feeling.
17. Are you trendy? Sometimes. I don’t have an addictive personality, but I can get into my own little trends. I am not much of a follower though, so it depends.
18. How do you release anger? Usually I talk… or write. I don’t anger easily, so if I am expressing anger you have probably done something really bad.
19. Do you have a second home? I am blessed to be welcome in many places across the world, but I have the house keys and standing invitation to my best friend Dawn’s house on Vancouver Island!
20. Do you trust others easily? Sometimes too easily, but I learn quickly so watch out.
21. What was your favourite toy as a child? I never really had toys as a child. When I was young I used my imagination and played with my cats. I read books a lot (Little Women and the Bible when I was 71/2) and rode my bike. I discovered music and liked to climb trees and play war games with the neighbourhood kids.
22.What class in school do you think is totally useless? Sigh… don’t tell my kids but I don’t have a very high impression of anything grade school. I enjoyed some locally developed courses in high school (like Law and Family Management) but I don’t think anything is really good until you get to University, where they teach you to think about what it is you are learning, not just what to think.
23. Do you like sappy love songs? Well, I am a girl… I love to listen to music with Duncan, it is a passion that we both share. He has made me many cd’s over the years full of sappy love songs. It has become a tradition!
24. Have you ever been on radio or television? Wow… lots actually, so many times I couldn’t relay them all if I tried. I did lots of public speaking (politicians daughter) as a kid, and was in the newspaper lots due to my philanthropist’s nature. I was on TV with Princess Diana when I was a teenager, and later with Princess Alexandria. I made the evening news in Junior high during massive province wide walk outs and in High school with Model UN and my work experience with the RCMP. I was a torch runner for the Commonwealth games in Victoria BC and got some TV time from that. Since I moved to Alberta I have been on TV three times (I think) – once Wesley and I gave a flag to Michelle Wright at the World Police and Fire Games and once I was a guest on A Channels (Calgary) Big Breakfast Show. I organized a rally after the September 11th incident that was publicized and I did training to work on the student radio CJSW. I actually wrote for the Student Newspaper The Gauntlet for a year. I have been interviewed for many different media, including a book that was published on events after September 11th. My kids have been on the TV and in the news several times as well. We are all born celebrities.
25. Do you have a journal? I have always kept journals but lately everything I do is done on the internet in my blog.
26. Do you use sarcasm a lot? Sometimes it is the best way to make a point!l
27. Have you ever been in a mosh pit? Yes, but I am not sure it was my favourite place to be…
28. What do you look for in a girl/boy? I notice eyes. My boyfriend has the most beautiful and deep blue eyes I have had the pleasure of gazing into. My son has eyes so green people have stopped on the streets to get a look, and my daughter was born with the most amazing brown eyes I have ever seen in a Caucasian baby.
29. What are your nicknames? Allie, Summer, Summerrain
30. Would you bungee jump? Absolutely! See question 11. It’s on my list of planned activities to tandem jump off the Nanaimo Bungy Zone Bridge with Duncan…
31. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? If I feel like it, or I have new shoes. Usually I just want to get in and relax!
32. What are you worried about right now? Riding in crazy traffic come Monday…
33. Do you ever wear overalls? Not really.
35. What's your favourite ice cream flavour? Chocolate Mousse Royal (Baskin Robbins)
36. What's your favourite color? That first yellow that dawn paints everything with. “Natures first green is gold, her hardest hue to hold…”
37. What are your least favourite things in the world? Mean people suck. People who wont yield to emergency vehicles. Bills. Not being able to help people out.
38. Do you have all your wisdom teeth? I had four but they were removed when I was 19. I had a great Dentist – I didn’t swell or have pain at all!
39. Are you in love w/ anyone? ABSOLUTELY! I am in love with DUNCAN!!!!
40. How many people have a crush on YOU right now? I wouldn’t notice…
41. Who do you miss most right now? My kids. They are at their Dad’s house for the night.
42. What do you think about the person who sent this to you? Elizabeth is one of those friends who was always there for me, even when she had to say the things I didn’t necessarily want to here. And even knowing me as well as she does, she is still my friend, and I love her to pieces for her!
43. How many piercings do you have & where? Had pierced ears once, but I didn’t like it – am soon to get my tongue pierced!
43. Do you want everyone you sent this to, to send it back? I am going to post it on my blog. People can do with it as they please!

It’s not if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game!

We had a great time visiting with out friend Deven yesterday (home briefly from law school on his way to Banff for the summer), and Duncan had a blast showing off the additions to his video game collection since Deven’s last visit (which includes a whole new system and Zelda). I actually thought that I would be throwing a blanket over Deven since he looked intent to play Zelda straight through until it was finished… but eventually he relinquished the control in favour of admiring the “artwork” bouncing around in DOA Xtreme Beach Volley Ball.

I am blogging quickly this morning, both whilst making French Toast (mmMMMMmm) for breakfast, and in anticipation of the arrival of Cathy, who is spending the day with us…. (kids are home today so we have arranged a play date/coffee date).

The other night Duncan and I watched Lost and Delirious, again (I bought it because it touched me so much). The movie encompasses many issues encountered by people who try to forge relationships with other people; yet truly the movie is about the love shared between two best friends who met at boarding school and share a room. Two best girlfriends (Paulie and Tory) who love each other – who are in fact, in love with each other. For many reasons, I can relate to this expression of love in the movie, as I fell in love with my best friend…

Their love is a forbidden love as much as it is a true and gentle love; a love that poses risk to be enjoyed yet so is truly a love of the person rather than a love of benefit from said alliance. It is a passionate love that knows no boundaries, but it is a love hidden from those around them from fear of being caught, fear of the reprisals and the consequences of being caught. They are after all, in an all girl boarding school. But let’s not kid each other…. Two people in love may think they can hide it, but eventually it becomes obvious to all as the light of the new day. The story of the two girls becomes really a story about what happens when their love is denied.

It is a story of how people bend (and try to change) themselves because they think it is what other people want/need/expect, but how really, in denying their truth they are in essence denying themselves. How lives that seem perfect together can no longer function when denied for perceived social constructs (read status quo), and a love that seemed amazing once is now torturous – the abject pain associated with denial (of love and self) as pretending to be someone or something you are not becomes the mistake of living someone else’s dreams or plans for you. It is a story of betrayal, but the worst crime is denial of self.

“LIARS! Love is. It just is. And nothing you can say will make it go away!” screams Paulie in a classroom full of her peers who are trying to define love. It is Tory who has denied Paulie for fear of her parents finding out, and the story is really Paulie’s as she tries to make the transition that Tory has initiated, but finds her love of Tory is more then her love of life itself…. And she can’t bear how incomplete everything seems when they are apart.

The movie expresses love in a powerful and beautiful manner, and it refuses to express that love within the boundaries that some people try to entrap it. It’s difficult for those in the story who can not relate to understand, and another girl, trying to help Paulie sort out her feelings, tells Paulie that Tory "wants boys now...". Paulie, shocked, as if she had never considered it in that way, says

Paulie: “You think I am a lesbian?”
Mary: “You are a girl in love with a girl, aren’t you?”
Paulie: “NO! I am Paulie in love with Tory.”

Simple. True. Love is.

Friday, May 02, 2003

Second Level of Hell hey.......

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Second Level of Hell!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:

Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)High
Level 2 (Lustful)Very High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Moderate
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Low
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Moderate
Level 7 (Violent)High
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)High
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Low

Take the Dante's Inferno Hell Test

Thursday, May 01, 2003

A picture is worth a thousand words

Thanks to the U.S.S. Clueless for this photoblog entry......

Bike on Dude

On Monday I begin my foray into the downtown world of bike couriers.... I have a uniform, some nifty communications devices, and little plates for my bike. It seems to be an interesting culture (I will let you know more as I immerse myself into it) but one thing is guareenteed, I am going to pedal my ass off! Tis a good thing too... After sitting at a desk job for over a year I am more then ready for a change of pace.... and what could be better then being paid to ride my bike (while at the same time being in the sun, getting fit AND losing weight?). It's also my own venture, as I am contracting my services to West Direct, and the most fun I have ever had in my employment experience has been as a contractor.

Although I am somewhat sad at leaving my old job I got two weeks pay as severence out of it, and they still want me to come back once in a while to cover casual shifts if I want. We will have to see. As it is now I have a couple of precious days off before starting in on being a responsible and productive adult again, and I don't neccessarily want to be thinking about working.

In other news - I am planning to have my hair done AND get my tongue pierced..... (so excited). Raven has declared she would like her hair silver and cut the way Orta's hair is in Panzer dragoon Orta. I have promised to help as much as possible, but our hair dresser is skeptical at the ease by which silver may or may not be achieved.....