Friday, December 31, 2004

Who let the dogs out?


Our puppy Luna loves the snow.

She braves the cold (it's currently -21 here) to go and play, dig, frolic and eat the snow. Who would have thought that a dog that was born in Thailand, and then brought to Vancouver Island in BC, would end up loving the snow in Edmonton Alberta? If only we could all be as happy as puppies...  Posted by Hello

Happy New Years!

Auld Lang Syne!

This was the year I turned 32 years old. It is also the year I went grey, the year I grew up, and the year I learnt the most about life. If you think it sounds like it has been a heavy year, you'd be right.


NEW HANGOUT: The Sugarbowl Coffee Shop (by the high level diner).

BEST GIFTS: Truly, having the family together for Christmas, including my Mom, Quynn and Mischief. But I did get awesome gifts – this Christmas I received a gift certificate for Dawns Bra Boutique (and a personalized appointment for a fitting), a Spa Package (with Massage!), massage oil (that comes with the promise of many more massages), Fahrenheit 911, The Passion of the Christ, Chocolate, teddy bears, candles, a coffee to go machine (for hectic mornings), and Duncan made me a very special present - a framed picture (him putting my wedding ring on) in black and white (but the ring is left in colour) with a poem:

There’s nothing I would rather do,
than to grow old with you,
the fun that being with you brings,
our memories made of little things,
the talks we have, the jokes we share,
the hugs, the kisses here and there,
what better reason could there be,
to ask you to grow old in love with me
.


FAVORITE SONG: We chose Bryan Adams's "When You Love Someone" and Adam Sandlers rendition of "Grow Old With You" to play at our wedding this year.

BEST BOOK READ: This year I really enjoyed reading the Harry Potter Series again.

NEW HOBBY: Family Tree and Record Researching.

BEST MOVIES: The Notebook, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Fahrenheit 911, The Passion of the Christ.

BEST DVD: The Star Wars Trilogy.

BEST VIDEO GAME: KOTOR II and Metroid Prime 2.

BIGGEST CHANGE: Duncan and I were married on July 7th. I am now Allie Wojtaszek.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Dealing with the deaths, funerals and estates of three close family members.

BEST JOKE: It wasn't a very funny year for us...

BIGGEST BLESSING OF THE YEAR: Marrying Duncan!

MOST STIRRING POLITICAL ISSUE: We had many elections this year, with many good issues, but I would still have to say the same as last year, same sex marriage rights.

LOOKING FORWARD TO: Star Wars Revenge of the Sith, May 19 2005, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince July 16 2005

PREDICTIONS FOR 2005: More places with free wireless internet access and less places to smoke.

Here's Wishing my Friends, Family and Reading Audience all the best for a safe, happy and prosperous New Year. Here's hoping that in 2005 we learn to be a more peaceful and less greedy species.

HAPPY NEW YEARS EVERYONE!!!!!

Thursday, December 30, 2004

To be in love, and be loved in return...


This is one of my favourite pictures of 2004.

Obviously taken on our wedding day, we are in Murray's office at the Legislature, kissing on the desk that used to belong to Premier Aberhart. It was a glorious day - and my favourite out of the whole year! Posted by Hello

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The day the earth moved




At 9.0 on the Richter Scale, the largest measured earthquake in history rocked northern Sumatera in Indonesia on Dec 26th 2004. Deemed a "megathrust" by Geophysicists (a term used for the most powerful and immediate changes occurring in the earth's surface) the energy released by the earthquake was reportedly equivalent to the detonation of 9500 Hiroshima bombs.

The sudden shift was so great that it caused the entire earth to "wobble" on its axis, finally settling 6 cm eastwards from it's original location mere seconds before. It caused the Earth to rotate faster, shortening our daylight hours. It caused the earth's diameter to decrease. It permanently changed the local geography, shifting islands and the mainland of Sumatra by as much as 36m, and beneath the ocean the edges of the plates shifted vertically 18m. It spawned several deadly tsunami waves that claimed tens of thousands of lives in 11 or more countries.

The highest death toll from a natural event ever, 12 countries directly affected. 100,000 dead. 500,000 injured, dying, needing help. 5 million people left without the necessities of life - no drinkable water, shelter, food, sewers. 1 million people completely displaced with no where to go. 80,000 are missing. 473 foreigners reported killed, including 13 Canadians and 20 americans. Ottawa reports 69 Canadians are still missing or unaccounted for.

Measles, diarrhea, cholera, typhoid, hepatitis A and dysentery; all diseases the W.H.O. believes might double the death toll before this disaster is over.

Estimated damage to buildings in the affected regions - at least $13.6 billion.

These people need our help. Please, if you can, help. If you do it before the end of the year you will even have a tax reciept for your 2004 taxes.



For updates (WHO)

For information on relatives/ friends: Canada High Commission and Embassies in the affected areasPosted by Hello

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Jedi Wisdom

Sometimes I search endlessly for the right words to describe the experience of how Duncan came into my awareness, and into my world. The scope of my language is often ill equipped to render such experiences with any justice at all, and often my own understanding of it is distant - the beginning of a world with Duncan and Allie together borders on the mystical and mysterious, a realm known best by the heart and spirit... and then other times I stumble unwittingly across words that speak to me of that time in much more a powerful way than they ever intended. In Duncan's new X-Box game, Knights of the Old Republic II, the Jedi Assasin Visas says this:

I felt you. Heard you, through the force. It was like a sound at the edge of hearing. And when I heard it, I found I could not ignore it.

- Visas (KOTOR II)

Describes it, that about does.

Long, Cold and Hard Winters...

Ever wonder what us Canadians do all winter long? No, they aren't x-rated photos. But yes, we do that too!

Saturday, December 25, 2004


Duncan's favourite gift is his good luck dragon Kimono. As usual, he was the first one awake on Christmas morning, excited about opening his gifts, including his new Knights of the Old Republic II game, West Wing third season, the extended versions of the Lord of the Ring movies and his new board game Diplomacy... among other things!  Posted by Hello

Our First Christmas together as Husband and Wife!

This Christmas was one of the most beautiful and wonderful Christmas's ever, everything was perfect. Duncan, as my husband for the first Christmas ever, is the best gift I could ever dream of. He brings magic back to my Christmas's!


There can never be too much Lego! Wesley is knee deep in Lego this Christmas, but his favourite gift this year was HALO2, which he has been wanting since he first finished HALO two years ago. I love the look on his face when he opens a gift he really wants. It's so rewarding!  Posted by Hello


Raven's favourite gift is her new Barbie doll house, but she is also excited about her new board game Horseopoly and her Barbie carriage. She will never know how hard it was to find that Barbie Doll House, and how, right up to the very end, I was worried I wouldn't get her one. But, with a little faith, patience and perserverance, Duncan and I found one. And it was worth it!  Posted by Hello


Nanny and Raven playing with Raven's new doll house. Theres nothing like playing dolls with your favourite Grandma. I think the kids have really enjoyed having my Mom here for the holidays. It was nice being together. It was better than being alone in separate cities, thats for sure.  Posted by Hello


Luna's first Christmas was very exciting for her! I think she must have thought that she had woken uo in doggy heaven. She ate her way through dog treat after dog treat (and even a bone we thought would last a while). She played with our friend Quynn and his dog Mischief who were over for Christmas morning rituals, and she ran around sniffing presents and tryuing to find more that were edible! Here she is taking a break, pooped out. Posted by Hello


Zoe guarding her Christmas treats. She spent most of the Christmas present un-wrapping on the periphery of the room, sitting as close to it all as she felt she could with two dogs in the room. When she thought they were distracted she snuck in to sit beside her stocking stuffers and peer on from on high.  Posted by Hello

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hope everyone is having a perfect Christmas Day!

Friday, December 24, 2004

First Christmas as husband and wife!

Everything is done, everything is ready! Kitchen is cleaned up, kids are tucked in (but still peeking out windows I imagine), stockings are hung, milk and cookies are out (and carrots for reindeer too), and now all that is left is to slog some warm drinks with my wonderful husband while listening to Christmas music and cuddling together with the blanket on the love seat.

Everything is perfect.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Oh, and while you are out surfing around - check out the Alberta Government's "Envirotree". (Hat tip Jon and Rea)

Here Comes Santa!!!!!!!!!!!

It's NORAD's 50th year of "publically" tracking Santa for all the worlds children.

As I write this, Santa is in the Himalaya's, where the sun has just set on Christmas Eve there. It is still very much day time here, but it does give me a sense of urgency... so much still to do today. Christmas baking is not yet finished. There is still one gifts of Duncan's I hid (a little too good) and haven't found. I have a big dinner to cook tonight, and maybe even some last minute shopping.

Hurry Santa, but don't get here until I am ready!!!!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

My Favourite Christmas Memory

I wrote this last year for A PHOTOJUNKIE CHRISTMAS 2003. I have been so busy (left all Christmas stuff until the last moment - and have also had events every night this week, so yes I am being a little lazy). But I think it is worth sharing here again. And I am too tired for anything else right now...

Christmas for me is all about that magic you feel in your heart before you get old enough to know better. I still feel it, but I rarely admit to it in order to avoid the skeptical stares from judgmental grown ups. But yeah, Christmas and me go a long way back. In the midst of a troubled childhood, my most treasured memories settle in around Christmas, Santa and that glimmer of Magic. Little miracles can go a long way.



I was a pretty smart kid, and the Christmas that I was four years old I thought I had it all figured out. Mom and Dad were actually Santa, and when I went to bed (early, under pain of Santa not coming) they put the presents under the tree, expecting me to believe they were placed there by Santa Claus. So I concocted a plan to reveal this vile adult plan for what it was: I was going to get up after my parents went to bed and check under the tree.

I barely ever slept, so I don't remember it being hard to wait up. My parents went to bed and I waited until they were finally snoring (I remember they both sounded like bears when they snored) and ventured slowly out into the darkness. Checked baby brother, still sleeping (I didn't want to get caught out of bed if he were to wake everyone up), and double checked parents room to ensure they were actually sleeping. I crept down the stairs, slowly. I remember debating with myself what I might do if I did run into this Santa, cause everything I had ever been told was that he wouldn't come if there were kids awake in the house. I decided to be quicker.

Into the living room I bolted, it was lit only by the lights from the tree. I immediatley noticed there were no presents under that tree. Not even one. I went to the fireplace, where the embers had almost all died out, and checked each stocking... empty. I looked out the window. It was dark. There were no cars on a normally busy road. It was very late. I looked behind the couch for presents, in the hall closet and in the kitchen. Where could they be, I wondered... I went back to bed, perplexed slightly, but intrigued.

I slept a while, and woke up when I heard my baby brother making some manner of complaint. He wasn't loud enough to wake anyone else and eventually he went back to sleep. I snuck into my parents room to carefully inspect each adult as sleeping in the bed. Yep, still snoring. I snuck out of the room and down into the livingroom once more. The sight that beheld my eyes I will remember for all times.

The tree was filled with presents. There were even little presents in the branches! I crept forward, holding my breath, and reached out to touch them, wondering at the packages that would be for me (despite my previous doubting of the Santa Claus). I spun around to make sure I wasn't being watched, and my attention was drawn to my stocking - which was also full. I ran over to it and grabbed it down from the fireplace and cradled it in my arms. I knew I was allowed to open my stocking gifts as soon as I got up no matter when, but I sat down first to survey the room.

Everything seemed perfect. Santa's milk was gone, the empty glass sat beside a plate that sported a few crumbs left behind from the cookies I had placed there earlier. I inspected closer - there was a ring of milk under the glass that was still fresh. I looked out of the window and wonder began to fill me. I looked into the skies and wondered if it was possible... but doubt nagged at the edge of my brain and I realized that "Santa" always left a gift at the end of the bed and I hadn't seen anything there when I had woken up. I ran up the stairs, still clutching my stocking, sure that I had caught them in the act - and turned on the light as I burst into my room.

There on my bed was one of the biggest wrapped boxes I had ever seen. Almost too big for me to stretch out fully on my bed - how could I possibly have missed that? Holding my breath, I backed out of my room slowly, into the hallway where I could listen to the measured breathing and snoring coming from my parents room. Yep, still asleep. My ears strained for the slightest noise anywhere in the house. Nothing.

It slowly dawned upon me... Santa MUST be real. While I was downstairs peeking under the tree with excitement, he left this present here on my bed, even knowing that I wasn't in it. He must have been in the house the same time I was awake! And I didn't hear a thing! Not only was Santa real, he was magic too!

As I sat on my bed that morning opening each gift I knew that in trying to prove that Mom and Dad were tricking me into believing in Santa that I had proven to myself that Santa was real. I was filled with a warmth that would last me many Christmas's, and even to this day I know that Santa and Christmas is more then what we banter around in the commercial, corporate sense. And I love seeing that mirrored in the eyes of my own children!

And Santa, I still believe in you!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Reality Bites Sometimes...

Picking my Mom up from the Greyhound Bus Station today was more difficult a task than I had originally anticipated... it made me realize how small my family had become in only a few short months. Christmas this year is going to be bittersweet for us, but among the memories and the missing of those no longer with us there will be joy, pride, happiness, healing and laughter - all the good things that love brings.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Drip drip drop little april showers beating a tune as you fall all around

Listening to Duncan type on his laptop I realize that the sounds of his fingers on the keys are like rain drops hitting leaves in a soothing summer rainfall.

Soothing. Perfection. Musical.

He is poetry to my soul.

My children and I are journeying into Hell: the Nightmare level

AKA Christmas shopping at West Edmonton Mall. Six days before Christmas. Wish us luck...

Friday, December 17, 2004

DUNCAN IS THE HERO!!!!!!!



Duncan ran an awesome campaign during the provincial election - a campaign that made Post Secondary Education an election priority among Alberta voters for the first time ever. And not just in those ridings where there is a PSE institution, but province-wide. Everywhere. I am very proud of him, and I know that everything he has done for the past five years has been geared towards achieving this goal. He was very excited and pleased with the success and results of his campaign. So imagine his excitement when we read this headline on the bus to work this morning:



Amazing. If he had said at his interview seven months ago that these were the results they could expect by the end of the year, no one would have believed him. This is very pie in the sky for a lobby movement, but so far, unless we wake up and find out we were dreaming, this is everything CAUS has wanted, and maybe even a little bit more. This next little while is going to be a very exciting time for Duncan.

Merry Christmas Students, and Peace, Order and Good Government for all.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Thoughts on Party Renewal

"Our Party needs to be fixed. I intend to fix it."

Leader Ralph Klein, November 29, 2004


A couple of weeks ago I was invited to submit to the Party's Renewal Committee, which I did, and in response I was personally invited to attend the Renewal meeting held here in Edmonton. The meeting was open to everyone (with a membership), but after recieving a personal invitation I couldn't say no. Not that I would have, this party is important to me and I am prepared to work to save it. On Nov 29 the Premier was speaking to members like me, people who had seen the problems and cared enough to work towards fixing them; people who needed their leader to do the same. Now all we have to do is engage the rest of the membership, and make them believe. It's going to be a busy four months.

I thought that our meeting had gone well, attended by MLA's, Ministers, Candidates, and mostly high level campaign team workers. The table I was teamed with had alot of intimate experience with this past election and the issues we discussed were commonly identified which made it interesting that we had a similiar experiences - it was also validating. When it came time to make our oral submission to the committee (our overall impressions of the campaign and then outline one single priority for the Party today) my table chose my priority to present, which was well recieved by the room. That made me feel glad I had made it out to the meeting, especially after a long work day and the boring bus ride downtown I faced to get there. It was promising. I am looking forward to the next step.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Hi Ho, Hi Ho...

It's off to work I go!

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Beware Royal Club Resorts

We got a phone call the other day informing us that we had "won" a prize, a digital camera and a Banff Spa package worth 500.00. All we had to do, apparently, was go to an office and watch a 90 minute movie on ways to save money travelling. I am a firm believer of "if it sounds to good to be true it probally is" so I was naturally skeptical and proceeded to question the girl, which she seemed wholly unprepared for. After she gave me the address I went to the internet to look up the company name. What I found was very interesting indeed.

After finding that the address belonged to a company called "Royal Club Resorts" I discovered a Consumer Alert on the Alberta Government Website. Apparently this lovely company has a great SCAM going where they happily take your money and leave you unable to access the purchased services and unable to get a refund. There are currently more than four court cases pending in Alberta with the company and their Director Andre Muran, named as the defendants.

So, fellow consumers, beware this Royal Club Resorts Company that offers a scam on travel time shares that in the end just serves to separate you from your hard earned money. And it seems even further to that you will need to go to court in an attempt to get it back.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Allie = Employed

I start on Monday, back at the U of A. I maybe should have taken more advantage of my 12 days of unemployment, but it will be good to have a schedule again, and I am looking forward to meeting my new co-workers.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Four Years of sensually erotic sexual lovemaking, foreplay and romance

Today is an anniversary of sorts for us, a day we lovingly refer to as "Boinking Day," for reasons that should be apparent to all of my adult readers... The day where we truly "found" each other, the day when it all began, the day we discovered how good life could be, the day that changed the world.

I Love You Duncan! I can't wait until you come home... we have some celebrating to do!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Thinking outside the Rink

I want you all to go and visit freestanley.com

You can VOTE (I know, I know, too many elections already) for your favourite "trustee-in-waiting", you can DONATE (make cheques payable to Free Stanley, PO Box 68184, 162 Bonnie Doon Mall, Edmonton, Alberta, T6C 4N6), VOLUNTEER, or send in pictures of you and Stanley.

I, like everyone else, have been frustrated by the NHL lockout and the subsequent lack of hockey in my life. Indeed, one could argue that the NHL itself has become impotent and unable to honour our game the way it should be honoured, holding Stanley hostage during this dispute with seeming impunity. Michael, Mark, and Tom are leading the way by launching a challenge that suggests that if the NHL season is cancelled then Stanley should be allowed to come back to Canada to be played for as a challenge cup among Canadians.

Let's do this. Let's bring our game back - let this be the impetitus that sees Canadians bring the cup home, where it belongs. It is, afterall, our trophy, our game, our dreams. Let the revolution begin!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

I now know what job I want!

No more job searching for Allie, I have discovered the perfect job for me!

I want to be a Trustee in Waiting to the Stanley Cup.

Reasons I'd be great at this position:

I am Canadian

I was sent to live in Canada by the Hockey gods because this is where the cup was SOPOSED to be

I have an intimate personal history with Stanley

I have a proven love for hockey and the Cup


All kidding aside, you can check out and vote for the Canaidians nominated as "trustees-in-waiting" at FREESTANLEY.COM. My choices were Don Cherry and Hayley Wickenheiser.

Monday, December 06, 2004

15 Years and 14 seconds of silence later...

On December 6, 1989, Marc Lépine went to the École Polytechnique in Montreal on a personal mission fueled by madness, hatred and vengeance. He purposefully entered a classroom where at gunpoint he separated the male students and forced them out of the room, leaving behind 14 woman to listen to his quick rant about how feminists had ruined his life before he shot and killed them all, one by one. Lépine then continued his rampage elsewhere, opening fire on all women he encountered, wounding an additional 13 before finally committing suicide.

The women killed:

Geneviève Bergeron
Hélène Colgan
Nathalie Croteau
Barbara Daigneault
Anne-Marie Edward
Maud Haviernick
Maryse Laganière
Maryse Leclair
Anne-Marie Lemay
Sonia Pelletier
Michèle Richard
Annie St-Arneault
Annie Turcotte
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz


In 1991 Parliament established December 6 as National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women, celebrated annually by Canadians on University campuses each and every year since.

But 15 years later I wonder what, if anything, has really changed? It is indeed true that this single act of mass murder did force us as a people to examine the way violence against women permeates our society (culture, media, games, roles, etc) and it certainly did (and has) served to raise awareness of issues of domestic violence (and was the catalyst for the now desperately controversial national gun control laws and firearm registry), but is that enough?

These women were Canadian people just like us; sisters, daughters, mothers, wives, friends; all just trying to live their lives and all not expecting some senseless death as an end to that living. They could have easily been us, or someone that we know and love. We must dare to dream up a world where respect for life and humanity actually prevails over the temptation of violence, hatred and anger as a means for dealing with our frustrations, personal or collective. We must teach this to our children, or perhaps more accurately we need to learn it from them. I fear my generation may be caught up a little too much in our dutiful ritual grieving and too little in tangible action. We all want to change the world. This is a good place to start.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

It's starting to look alot like Christmas!

I have been spared something this year and I am finding myself truly grateful. For years now Christmas has been ultimately marred in some fashion by the over commercialization of the holiday - with Christmas decorations, speacials and music appearing in our society BEFORE HALLOWEEN I am usually tapped out by the time the actual holiday rolls around. I try to pretend it's not that way, but down deep I have missed the innocence I enjoyed past Christmas' with as a child.

This year I was so completely preoccupied during the election period (Oct 18 - Nov 23) that I missed all of that. Never stepped foot in a mall, never watched TV, was never bombarded with endless commercials, flyers, etc, etc. Now I find myself once again enjoying the magical anticipation of christmas and every little joy that goes with it; dreaming, decorating, humming carols to myself, feeling excited. Geniune excitement and it is a gift let me tell you.

I can't wait for this Christmas. My world, and my family, are quite different this holiday season than it was last year at this time. But with our tree up, the christmas village assembled, decorations hanging, excited giggles from kids and the first snowfall of the year, it really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Friday, December 03, 2004

Warning: Smoking IS hazardous to your health, and mine too.

Our Canadian Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh is proposing bold new health regulations that will force manufacturer's to design cigarettes that will go out if they are left unattended and burning.

Hailed as "reduced ignition propensity" cigarettes, it is hoped that this design change will reduce the thousands of fires caused each and every year by cigarettes, the leading cause of residential fire-related deaths and injuries in Canada.

Ofcourse, these fires most commonly kill children and elderly people and cause millions in property damage annually. The manufacturers complain that the reduced ignition cigarettes will frequently go out and a cigarette that has been relit after going out tastes awful to the consumer. Oh boo hoo, and give me a break. How can anyone hold that above the life of a child? Oh wait... smokers already hold their right to smoke above the life of a child, or in most cases, many children.

Never mind that two thirds of smoke from a cigarette is not inhaled by the smoker, but enters the air around the smoker, and that this second-hand smoke has at least twice the nicotine and tar as the smoke inhaled by the smoker. Or that regular exposure to second-hand smoke (again, mostly children who have a higher metabolism which causes them to absorb higher amounts of smoke than adults) increases the chances of contracting lung disease by 25 percent and heart disease by 10 percent. Or that infants and children exposed to second-hand smoke are most likely to suffer chronic respiratory illnesses, impaired lung functions, asthma, chronic middle ear infections, food allergies and can even succumb to sudden infant death syndrome. Or that there is no known safe level of exposure to the 250+ carcinogens found in cigarette smoke, for anyone (user or not), ever.

So if people refuse to quit on their own (for the obvious self centered health reasons, or for the protection of their loved ones) then I support the government taking action to protect our most vulnerable citizens by bringing in measures to reduce the number of selfishly caused (preventable) tragedies due to smoking related fires.

The proposed regulations would require all cigarettes manufactured or imported for sale in Canada to meet the new standard by October 2005. I don't know why we have to wait, or how many more lives will be irrepairably damaged before then, but I think the regulations should be altered just a little bit further, to make cigarettes not ignite at all.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

You know you are parents of a pre-teen when...

Your 11 year old son excitedly comes up to you to tell you he introduced himself to the Premier and shook his hand - and you both inwardly cringe because you doubt the current cleanliness of his hands...

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Curious tries to stir the shit

"Curious" left me this annonymous (read cowardly) comment in one of my posts today:

Don't you find it a little bizarre to be married to someone who spent the whole election campaigning AGAINST the party you worked for? I think students in CAUS would be appalled to know their director is married to someone who campaigned for the PCs.

It's not bizarre at all, "Curious" (whom I suspect is either a loser NDP, CAUS "has been" or the "lovely" but bitter Ex-Wife).

Duncan is very good at doing his job and that's why he was hired over all other people who applied (and it was very competitive). Actually, thanks for pointing it out, because he did an AWESOME job and he deserves some recognition.

He made, for THE FIRST TIME EVER, PSE an election issue. He did that. No other people involved in CAUS have ever been able to do that. No one in any student movement in the province has ever achieved that. It was made such an issue that people actually voted with PSE in mind (for example, see three PSE ridings in Calgary as Liberal instead of PC). PSE was in people's top three issues during this election throughout the province. I'd say that was a spectacular victory for CAUS and the student's that are represented by them. I am very proud of him. I applaud him. I think he deserves a raise for the job he did. AND he did it while maintaining a respectable relationship with the powers that be so that he may return to representing the needs of students after an election, something not all student politicians are able to do. A very fine balancing act indeed.

As a PSE student myself (with loans and two children who will attend university in the next ten years) I would have to admit that the elevation of PSE in the collective voters mind can only be a good thing. Anyone who can't see this is sadly mislead, and I am not afraid to say that. I for one have been encouraging my party and it's membership in this regard for two years or more. Theres no place to change the system but from within. And that ladies and gentleman is grassroots democracy. And I should add, unlike some parties out there, the PC's are not a cult, they don't demand sheep like behaviour and blind devotion to a party leader. We are allowed to voice and discuss our opinions and have different ones from that of our party. How else would policy ever change?

For me, being a member of the PC party is about supporting a party that has acheieved amazing things here in this province, things that other (lesser) spend happy governments (I grew up in BC and have family on the prairies so I have seen first hand the damage done by years of NDP/SC govts) could not have obtained because of there non-fiscal awarenesses, regardless of how rich the province was. Note how all the other parties in this election promised to spend (and in some -liberal- cases overspend) the surpluses/heritage fund as soon as possible. They were pissing themselves thinking of getting a hold on that money. It disgusts me. Albertans deserve better than that.

My husband and I are allowed to be on separate sides of any issue (although any one who knows us would know better than to imply that) and I support him whole heartedly (as he does me) in any endeavour he should choose to embark on, even if we are on/at polar opposites. My husband has a strong work ethic which enabled him to do the very best work possible (which also included travelling all over Alberta) while still maintaining a separate personal life (and fighting a serious bought of pneumonia as well). Kudos to him. While I was away campaigning he was also a single parent of two children and managed, for 6 weeks, every matter of our household and the social lives and commitments of three people. He should probably get a medal because I know there are not too many other people out there who could preform so well given those circumstances, "Curious" included.

As for the students of "CAUS" being "appalled" that an employee's wife might have a differring opinion to that of the movement I think that they, being all intelligent and well educated individuals, deserve more credit than that. I don't think I have to point out that they are aware that it is none of their business because they are already mature enough to know that. The democratic process that we all know and love neccessarily has room for ALL PEOPLE to make an impact if they should desire (or dare) to try. You also forget to take into account that several members of CAUS themselves are PC Supporters in their personal lives, and the rest have politic alliances that lay elsewhere on the spectrum, yet still they manage to serve student's interests.

While campaigning in Calgary at the University I didn't hide anything from the members there and was very visually involved as being PC candidate specific when we met. They didn't seem appalled to me. They were actually much more professional than you seem willing to recognize or able to be yourself. The student movement is finally alive and well in this province. This isn't "You're either with us, or against us." It's Albertans coming together in order to influence priorities and policy for another four years. They are going to be the best four years Albertans have ever known.

And while "Curious" sits on the sidelines snivelling about how no one likes the NDP, both my husband and I are going to be hip deep in making a difference, because this province (and issues like PSE and other student related concerns) are worth it. Lead, follow, or get the fuck out of the way.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Job? No Job! Freelance!

Looking through some different job postings trying to figure out what I would like to do next, and I found an "interesting" job in Administrative Support with Alberta Justice. I found this caveat in the qualifications section: Ability to acquire a Firearms Acquisition Certificate and a First Aid Certificate is required.

An FAC is required? I am tempted to apply just to find out how on earth I may be required to use a gun, and if the first aid is to, shall we say, fix whatever I am using it for?

Monday, November 29, 2004

Life is irony

So my brother was not always compelled to take care of himself financially (he got better with this as he grew up) and I used to joke with my parents that they were not to leave him to me in their will.

Here I am typing my Mom's will and I have been left my brother's remains, if they have not already been scattered upon my Mother's death.

The irony of that is a little sharp right now.

Talk about delusional

Would you support someone who has to take medication in order to "control" her paranoid delusional psychotic episodes, who "stomps" like a child around a room full of people like she is having a tantrum when she doesn't get her way, who blows up and explodes at people she is working for/says she likes for no apparent reason, who acts so obviously bizarre that people are left asking "whats wrong with her", who twists how any situation occurs in her own mind so she thinks she is "amazing", who plans the political demise of certain people who she thinks gets in her way of provincial domination, and (among other things) who has a history of making death threats against people, including small children, in a bid to obtain the nomination for Calgary Varsity in 2008?

I didn't think so.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Making a list

Christmas cards. Eighty people. Eighty stamps. Wow. I better get cracking!

Saturday, November 27, 2004

On Growing Up: Where do Butterflies come from?

Growing up is generally considered to be facilitated through the attainment of certain rites of passage, sometimes referred to as benchmarks or milestones, that tend to be held by our culture/society as important measures of achievement, progress and success, and the means by which one demonstrates their importance and/or place in the "grown up" world.

This understanding, however, is far more simplistic than realistic. We, as people, seem to search endlessly for the answer of what it means to be grown up. Is it when you can finally answer the questions "How can you understand how I feel if I don’t even understand?" or "When will it all make sense?" Is it when you get your first job, learn to drive, loss your virginity, get married, have a baby, buy your first car/house/portfolio? Is it when you have categorically succumbed to the many other stresses that our daily lives are riddled with and made it through?

I am considering writing a book (as always). This one is already there in my head, I just have to decide whether to share it or not. It does have a potential title – "The Year I Went Grey" but it might be more aptly named "The Year I Grew Up."

The story of ourselves growing up is the quintessential story of humanity and yet our child self eludes us adults like an enigmatic stranger discernable only with a sort of peripheral vision that we apply sparingly to our own memories with an intent curiosity, which is not unlike the process of revisionist history. It is the application of democracy to our childhood adventures, picking and choosing what we remember and with which way we remember it, how we tell our story. But sometimes the story's rightful beginning is not always at the very beginning.

At it’s start 2004 threatened to be just like any other year. Instead it rapidly became a year of tragic life lessons, a year of surrendering quietly to that which we can only live through and not change. I learnt the true meaning of acceptance, of coping, of priorities, of loving, of family, of living, of being a partner to my husband, of rising to meet challenges, of remaining sane.

In all of this, I learnt how to survive. I recognize now that it is within these themes that I have finally attained that level of maturity that, with all confidence, I can say to myself that I have finally become a "grown up".

And I am going to stretch my wings.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Politics, Propaganda and Principles

"We must not allow ourselves to become like the system we oppose."
- Desmond Tutu


Politics, Propaganda and Principles

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

The Writing on The Wall

In case of emergency, activate the bat signal.

In a surprise turn of events the liberals took Calgary Varsity. Our numbers were solid and no one, not even the media, the hacks or the pundits, saw it coming. All in all the liberals took 17 seats.

We lost 13.

A fourth term with a majority government that claims 3/4's of the seats is nothing to shake a stick at. It actually sounds like a success story any government would be proud of. But there is danger in complacency and this should not be considered a "victory", not for us.

The numbers tell a different story - an obvious right wing protest vote across the province. Albertans are not completely happy with us, loud and clear. In all ridings where a PC seat was lost, the right of center vote was split between us and the Alberta Alliance, by the same amount that would have been needed for a win over the liberal candidates. But it's not the liberals I am worried about.

Bat signal please.

This is a message from the voters of Alberta to our party and if we ignore it our party will die. As a party, we have our work cut out for us, with only 3-4 years to regain lost trust, confidence and support. The trick will be in balancing the needs of the voters with the needs of the party and our policy direction. How far right can we go in order to accommodate voters without losing more votes than we might possibly gain? And the Premier needs to clean house or go.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Finally Home...

Wow. Am I tired. And happy to be home. I have learnt so much, which I will be pleased to share at a later time.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Iam so drubk

There is nothing in politics until you get totally drunk with the outgoing candidate. It's funny how evrything becomes so clear.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

un-blogging

"We are likely to be disconcerted by
... hiatuses of thought."

- Edmund Wilson


Hiatus (hi·a·tus): A gap or interruption in space, time, or continuity; a break; an interruption in the intensity or amount of something.

While I am campaigning I will not be blogging. In two years this is my very first official hiatus. I will miss you all and will make it up to you when I get back, after the Provincial Election, promise.



Friday, October 22, 2004

Emergency Door Knocking Duties

What happens when your Doorknocking Coordinator calls in sick? Your amazingly versatile and all talented live in Campaign Office Manager answers the call of duty.

Benefits of doorknocking (besides fresh air, good exercise, discussing issues)?

Having the door answered by a half dressed, half asleep, cute buxom and built young dark haired guy...

Now, back to being a Campaign Office Manager.

Busy Busy Girl

When you are running a Campaign Office there is no such thing as weekends. Or slowing down. Or vegging, relaxing, etc, etc. But it is all fun, excitement, moving and shaking, rolling with the punches, meeting expectations and raising the bar. No one would have it any other way.

We are good (understatement). We have an awesome campaign team, with eager, skilled volunteers. We have the best Campaign Manager in the city. My space is finally coming together. We have a great Candidate, and an even better Candidates wife and family. The mundane trials of yesterday are nothing to us now. And most importantly, beyond any shadow of doubt, I have the most wonderful and supportive, understanding, caring husband (of superlative quality) in the whole world. I couldn't be here doing this without him (Thanks Baby).

Thursday, October 21, 2004

I want my Duncan

Tonight I feel just like a little kid must feel when someone smashes through his sandcastle that was built upon hours of creative work.

I need tomorrow to be another day.

Laugh it up Fuzzball

Q. What's the difference between the Vietnam War and the Iraq War?

A. George W. Bush had a plan to get out of the Vietnam War.

Taking it to the next level

My husband has a nice new fandangled laptop with access to our wireless home network. Here's the conversation I had with him this lovely morning over MSN.

Allie - Now in Calgary says: you are now online!

Duncan says: And on the toilet.

Allie - Now in Calgary says: lol! thats awesome

Duncan says: Yup.

Duncan says: I no longer fear constipation. I welcome it.

Allie - Now in Calgary says: hehehe

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Demand better

I would rather die of thirst than drink from the cup of mediocrity.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Long Distance Parenting

I got this email from Raven today. I was impressed - thats a lot of typing for a nine year old!

Dear Mom,

At school today I:

-did S.Q.U.I.R.T. [silent reading]

-did L.A.

-Music

and so on. The book orders came in but Mrs.Loberg is handing them out tomorrow. At lunch I got a new spot because a girl took my spot but I get to sit by Nikki. I am having a good time but I miss you already! Tonight Duncan made pasta for dinner and it was good. How are you? What did you have for dinner?

I LOVE YOU!

Your Duaghter,

RAVEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WESLEY WON!!!!

Congratulations on running and winning your first election Wes! I hope you enjoy being a councilor for Grade Six. I am very proud of you. I hope Duncan enjoys planning your victory party! The students made an awesome choice.

Parting is such sweet sorrow

Shakespeare knew of the pain of separating from your dearly loved one and suggested that ache could be dulled by the anticipation of the next encounter. Longing, dreaming, wanting, seeking, loving - all taking the edge off of a sadness that exists when two soul mates are apart.

Today, god willing (winter hit, the roads are a mess), I leave for Calgary. I do not want to leave Duncan behind. I sleep terribly when our bodies are not intertwined together, the comforting beat of our hearts directing our sleep and dreams. I look so forward everyday to looking into his eyes, getting lost in those beautiful eyes, listening to the rhythm of his voice, feeling the touch of his hands, wrapping myself in his arms. Almost everything I do, we do together. He is my best friend. I will miss him terribly.

I watched my kids walk out the door this morning, my dear sweet ones, and I know I will miss them too. Miss seeing how their faces light up when they talk about their days and how we play little games at night when I tuck them in... miss watching them laugh and play and even doing their homework.

Ofcourse, we are going to call each other, email, msn, write and find other ways to connect. That's a huge priority. We will still find time to visit and see each other in the next 6 weeks, I just don't know if it will be as often as my heart desires.

Until we meet again, loved ones, take care. Know that I love you more than the depths and mysteries of life can explain.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Edmonton voters Elect New Mayor.

Out with the old, in with Stephen Mandel. Congrats Edmonton, we managed to shake up the Momentum afterall. Thank god.

Stephen Mandel 85887 votes (40.68%)
Bill Smith 68767 votes (32.57%)
Robert Noce 52640 votes (24.93%)

We had the weirdest ballots in Edmonton - we had to fill in the middle part of an arrow beside and pointing to the candidate of our choice... anyone else have weird ballots?

Saturday, October 16, 2004

My friends are all amazing

I am having much fun. Good fun. Clean fun. Real fun (as in not drama fun).

Dan and Cathy bought a new Jeep today (TJ). Very nice. It was very exciting, not very practical, but life isn't about being practical all the time. Their house is beautiful, I am enjoying my stay here in Cochrane. Cathy's pregnant belly is gorgeous. I am enjoying getting to know my friend as a pregnant girl. And maybe she can pass all her maternity/baby stuff on to me!

Friday, October 15, 2004

Wow. Now that was a party!

I had an awesome time tonight. The food was fabulous, the punch was amazing (thanks to Reagan's powers of creation), the political talk and socialization was arousing, and the gifts given out were touching. The only thing that would have made it more perfect would have been if Duncan was there with me (miss you baby). I know he really regreted having to miss the party.

Going to a party

Here I am in Calgary, all alone (for the time being). My friend Cindy was soposed to be here - but alas I am sitting in an empty house. I am here for a special party tonight, and then hanging with friends for a couple of days before heading back home to pack for the campaign era that begins Tuesday. I am happily entertaining myself with my new book, The Logogryph, my friend Tom's latest creation. Life is so much more interesting when you have friends who are artists.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Love really is the key

I am an avid student of people and our humanity and how we chose to express and share it fascinates and inspires me. For a while I have been reading the blog of a woman who is trying to concieve her first child, but is travelling the journey that all couples faced with infertility must travel. I marvel at her willingness to expose her intimate desires and I grieve at her pain when her fears are made real, again and again.

I believe that honestly honouring your feelings, including the pains and the wounds, is the only way to survive life. Nothing is ever easy and you have to be able to adapt on your feet or risk insanity.

Recently she posted a link to a flash movie that another couple made about their journey (so far) with "infertility." It is amazing. It is as close as you can get to understanding without ever having been there. While you watch it consider your own humanity and how your heart moves in response to theirs.

Empty Arms

ELECT WESLEY SMYTH FOR ROW 2 COUNCILOR

Last night, after arriving home from an Edmonton Meadowlark Campaign Meeting, Duncan and I helped Wesley write his very first campaign speech. This involved watching choice excerpts from many political films on the bookshelf and discussing why politics is important to other grade six students. Wesley is running for Row 2 Councilor in his grade six class's mock Municipal Election (Council will serve for the rest of the school term). He has made signs, handbills and utilized his own blog as an election page. Watching him practise the speech was very cute. We are very proud. I will be voting in our municipal election the same day his class will vote in theirs, and then I am off to Calgary for the provinicial election. We have elections coming out of our ears!

Go Wes Go!

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

I understand her anger when she says that "Someone should pay for my husband's death."

Om Asatoma Sadgamaya
Tamasoma Jyoti Gamaya
Myrityoma Amritam Gamaya

From delusion lead me to truth
From darkness lead me to light
From death lead me to eternal life.

-Hindu prayer


Traffic deaths are devastatingly hard to reconcile because they are all preventable. Because of this there is no making any sense of them, ever. This means it is hard to find the answers to the many questions we as humans so inevitably seek in these situations.

Recently David Schop (45 of Calgary) was killed in a vehicular accident in Strathcona County. RCMP believe that a stop sign was purposely removed (in an unrelated incident, maybe as a prank) from an important intersection and as such Schop, who was unfamiliar with the rural area, proceeded into a situation which tragically and ultimately saw the ending of his life.

My heart goes out to his wife, Sandra. It's not like other losses. There is something unique about losing someone in this way, about having so many questions that will remain forever unanswered, about the pain of such a terribly pointless death that burns (eternally it seems), about the desperate need to fix the unfixable, to protect the unprotectable, to punish, to avenge, anything to stop the torture inside.

As I am freshly inducted into the realm of the road bereaved I know of the torment this brings her and her family. I know it well, a constant companion, a new driving force behind my awareness, motivations and determination.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Today I am thankful for my life and everything in it.

Thankful for my wonderful husband Duncan, my darling children Wesley and Raven, my Mom, Duncan's Dad, our delightful (yet not so large anymore) families, our many many friends, our cat Zoe, our puppy Luna(tic), our blog readership, our home, exciting upcoming opportunties, pretty sunsets, hugs, and for Blue Cross.

And I am very thankful for the bound-to-be amazing turkey dinner that is being cooked for us today by Quynn. Yum. We can't wait!

Our warmest wishes go out to everyone today. Peace be upon you where ever you are!

Sunday, October 10, 2004

A Perfect Weekend is a Rare Gift

I'm glad this one is a long weekend.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Sky Captain (and the future of tomorrow)

I think that's what we are going to do tonight. My children are off to Calgary with their Dad and it's been a while since Duncan and I have been alone. We've been meaning to go see Sky Captain for a while now but we are pretty flexible. We had a wonderful night last night all crammed around a table in Hooters (WEM). I especially liked it when they made a (drunk) Duncan stand on a bar stool while they sang Happy Birthday to him. But a good time was had by the birthday boy, who has been making love to the XBox ever since opening his gifts. It's nice to see a happy Duncan. Now if we could only clear up his pnuemonia I'd be happy too.

Marching Orders (Call of Duty)

I am very excited about my upcoming Campaign duties - and about working with the great team that we have assembled and ready to go. Oct 19th is when I start, Calgary, here I come!

Commercial 101 (Fame and Good Fortune)

Today I was involved in the making of a commercial. Yep, that's me, TV star. A very interesting process, it was relatively quick and easy; I just sat there (with props) and stared at a dot on the chalkboard. The commercial will be used province wide during the Provincial Election so you can watch for me and Duncan on TV during that time. I know I'm excited.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Duncan = 26

Happy Birthday Duncan!!!!!!!


Little need for age-anxiety, 26 isn't really that old. And there truly are some great things about getting older:

Your investment in health/life insurance will begin to pay off.

Kidnappers are not very interested in you (unless you are filthy rich).

Your secrets are safer with your friends because they can’t remember them either.

Your supply of brain cells is reducing it's way to a manageable size.

There’s less left to learn the hard way.

Your joints become accurate than the Canadian Weather Service (trust me, this happens sooner than you think).


But all joking aside, let's enjoy a 26 year old Duncan now and worry about age later, because one day you really will get old! And you will still be sexy.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Over Reaction Day explained

PMS is rumoured to affect only 90% of women during their childbearing years. Personally, I actually don't know one woman who still has a uterus that doesn't enjoy PMS in some fashion. Most women experience symptoms with such severity that it interferes in one way or another with daily living activities. Or the daily living activities of our significant others, family members, pets, the mailman, drivers on the road, the clerk at the store, or any other poor unsuspecting bastard that dares to get in our way.

My monthly bout of estrogen dominance has sparked for me a "holiday," if you will, which I lovingingly refer to as "Over Reaction Day." Sometimes there are warning signs the night before, but usually Over Reaction Day arrives wreaking unexplained havoc on my successful, normally well adjusted, medication free, perfect, happy, responsible adult life. It's true. I fall asleep snuggling in the strong arms of the man who loves me, after a great evening, secure, happy and peaceful, dreaming of all the good times ahead of me, ahead for us.

And then I wake up.

I know right away what day it is. The fact that everything is WRONG from the moment I open my eyes is my first clue. It is like some great vengenance has been visited upon my cherished life and caused me to be annoyed and bothered by absolutely EVERYTHING, without cause or discretion. Usually I make some attempt to get up out of bed and tackle the world, even though somewhere underneath all my sudden irrationality I suspect it might bring world peace if I (and others like me) stayed in bed just this one day.

Yesterday, Duncan looked lovingly at me in the bed and asked if I would come to have coffee with him. He had no idea what demonic evils were brewing inside of me, yet, responding to his sweetness I said yes. Anyways, maybe I was wrong about what day it was. I mean, so far I had yet to shred the ankles of the nearest living being...

I made it ok to the coffee shop. But then it happened.

"I'd like a large medium roast coffee, please."

How dare he! He'd like "a" cup of coffee? How dare he insinuate that he is alone at the coffee shop, and not with me, the goddess of all things wonderful? And how could he NOT order ME a cup of coffee? ESPECIALLY after I so graciously ignored his dirty underwear on the bathroom floor that very morning?

Sensing a disturbance in the force, Duncan quickly ordered a coffee for me as well. But it was too late. Ofcourse it was.

So what do I do? I over reacted, ofcourse. After finishing my coffee I went straight to the mall and had my hair coloured.

Blonde.

And thats how I celebrated (survived?) this months Over Reaction Day.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Today is "Over Reaction Day"

It's best left at that for now...

Monday, October 04, 2004

And the Mist rolls down the Valley on Kitten Feet

Amidst much wonderful speculation, I should let you know that we are planning to have a baby. We are not yet having a baby, and we have yet to determine when our lives awould be best blest by such a gift, but we are touched by all the attention and warm wishes.

Our most recent baby dreaming began when our good friend Cathy discovered she was pregnant again. She was likely even just pregnant at our wedding (she was one of my bridesmaids, another blessing of the day). It's been wonderful to get wrapped up in the excitement of expecting a new being in our lives; the planning, the daydreaming, the realization that soon we shall embark on a similiar journey as a couple. The making of a space in our lives that will be filled with future love.

My friend is fresh out of baby names, so she asked me (being so creative and good at conjuring interesting names) for help. This led into our our collective daydreaming and subsequent planning. We're in no rush, but we now have a special place in our lives for a future little Wojtaszek. And we are happy in our anticipation.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Surfing...

Found this is in the online minutes of the U of A SU (July 13th).

Also, our Executive Director Duncan Wojtaszek got married on the 7th. Congratulations, and good luck to him and his wife Allie in the future. The Minister of Energy, Murray Smith, officiated the ceremony. Jordan, myself, and Brett Bergie (Provincial Director for ACTISEC) introduced ourselves to the Minister, then inadvertently ended up monopolizing his time at the post-ceremony reception as we discussed PSE issues.

Yes, only at my wedding would their be Political discussions and lobbying (oh and thanks, that was sweet).

Friday, October 01, 2004

I have learned a lot this year...

There is so much to incorporate and define, so many ways to honour how I have grown and changed, so many new opportunities to consider, and now so much time to do it with. Well, not really - it's all percieved time - but now that I have a good couple of weeks off I surely may permit myself sometime to quietly think about everything that has happened this year. Or maybe I am just thinkgin that to make myself feel better!

Today, I am on my way out the door to get some shopping done (girls bday party tomorrow), this afternoon I have campaign office tasks to complete, a webpage to build, an article to write for the newspaper and (I'm sure there is another and in there somewhere!)... tonight we are going for BBQ and Buffy at Quynns house. How is that for my first day off? Laughs. Well, maybe once I can sit myself down and think through all this stuff I will have relieved myself of my blogger's block.

In this last week I finished working (I was filling in for a Mat Leave), was asked to teach at my son's school (his teacher from grade five wants me to come and do some lectures on Journalism and Communications for her class - so now I am trying to find lesson plan examples that approach this in a fun way). Also at the school, I am working with the Principal, PTA and our Community Police Officer to improve traffic and pedestrian safety both at the school and in the neighbourhood (what else do you do when your brother is killed by a car?) and I turned down a job offer from CBC. I've turned down job offers before, but this time I actually stopped her in the interview, asked her a few questions of clarification, and told her that this wasn't the job for me, but thank you for considering me. It's totally not what I had originally thought it was and I am beyond the time in my life where four random jobs make any sense to me. Besides, look at how busy I am already.

This has been a busy year. But I am a busy girl.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Guilty Pleasures

Spent the evening playing Civ III with Duncan (who is terribly ill) and thinking about baby names. For a boy, Duncan favours the name Link. Actually, knowing Duncan, he might favour that name for a girl as well!

GIRLS NAMES
Michaela (or Mikhala)
Adele
Emily (Em)
Leia
Sariah
Arwen
Megan
Kashi (or Tashi)
Alberta (Allie)
Juniper (June)
Jana
Willow
Shiloh
Whitney
Aisha
Kayla
Dharma
Siobhan
Starr
Summer
Uma
Rayna (or Rayne)

BOYS NAMES
Darian
Blake
Joel
Elvis
Joseph (Joe)
Damian
Quynn
Isaac
Joshua (Josh)
Jeremy
Noah
Luke
Skye
Kougar (or Cougar)
Brendan
Logan
Caelhan (Cael)
Campbell or Cambell (Cam)
River
Malcolm
Lincoln (Linc)
Avery
Sasha


Monday, September 27, 2004

Can you study for a urine test?

I am trying to write my article for the paper. My deadline is already past, the paper goes to print tonight. I just got the material about an hour ago, and I despair. Problem is, I am soposed to be funny, but none of the material is funny. Actually, most of it's lame, the best stuff is a couple of potheads and a guy masturbating and thats all I have to work with. Inspiration, come to me.

Here's a Pot Head joke I just found on the internet:

A stoner called the fire department and said, "Come quick my house is on fire!" The Fireman asked "How do we get there?" The stoner says "DUH, in a big red truck!"

Sigh.

Together, Team Alberta!

Well, officially my last day on the job is this Thursday (Yay!). My first official campaign event is Friday (Duncan's is this Tuesday night). Things are really starting to pull together, we both have very good teams to work with and I am getting excited - even though I am facing the several small dilemmas one might expect to face when so involved in a campaign that is in another city. However, We shall perservere, that much is obvious.

I am not sure exactly when I will be opening the campaign office (likely just after Thanksgiving), but I am both looking forward to Calgary (election excitement, election events, friends, my fav gym, chinooks), and dreading it (missing Duncan, my kids and the puppy already). Actually, dreading is likely too strong a word, as they say absence makes the heart grow fonder... and between the two of us working in senior campaign positions in two seperate cities, we will still manage to find the time for one another. We always have.

Maybe during my time off (between this job and the Campaign Office) I can find my blogging groove again. I haven't written anything impassioned in a while, it's like a crude form of blogger's block. Suggestions of topics anyone?

Saturday, September 25, 2004

'What do we do now night' in Canada

Watch Star Wars, of course. All of them. Invite friends over to watch (and even friends' dogs). Eat, drink, be merry.

May the Force be with you.

Friday, September 24, 2004

You must Unlearn what you have Learned

Try not. Do. Or, do not. There is no try.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

The Politics of Dinosaur Dung

I was reading the Globe and Mail this morning and I came across the plight of blogger Penny Cholmondeley, now of lovely Victoria, BC.

Fellow bloggers, there is a travesty afoot here.

Penny, who was living up north working in the tourism industry, described in her blog her experiences with the northern culture and landscape. She never once talked about her job or mentioned her employer, but she was honest with her opinion, like when she once said she didn't like a resturant she went to, and once used an artful picture of some trash on the tundra in a post. Mostly though, she illustrated her blog with beautiful pictures and positive words about her experience.

She was still on probation at work when her employer saw her blog and she was fired. They cited only disatisfaction with her blog.

Her personal journal.

Now, not only are blogs personal online sites that people visit of their own free accord, they are mostly descriptions of someone's life experience and the opinions that are formed from living that. Unless you are openly trashing someone (and breaking the laws regarding libel/slander) or breaking already agreed upon rules (like not giving away business secrets) then it all falls into freedom of speech and expression.

And I think those freedoms are important.

I am concerned that, if nothing is done, bloggers will face continued discrimination from employers who think they they own and/or have control of all aspects of a bloggers life. As far as I know, in Canada, you are allowed to have and express an opinion that differs from that of your employer. Even if it is completely contrary to your employer's opinion, and especially if you are expressing that opinion during your personal time.

I think this is worth defining and fighting for, not only for a specific number of Canadian bloggers, but really for all Canadians, because if we let some of our rights erode than pretty soon we won't notice that they are all gone.

Anyone?

See also:

Blogger fired for Blogging (includes the email address of the person who fired Penny)
Polar Penny (Ghost of a Flea)

Friday, September 17, 2004

Mama, Life Had Just Begun...

Sue Sapir-Niederer is angry that her son is dead.

At the tender age of 24 years, Army 1st Lt. Seth Dvorin was killed in Iraq this past February. Like any one else that loses a loved one Sapir-Niederer has questions that deserve answers, but when she dared to voice them, she found herself arrested.



Her real mistake was thinking that first lady Laura Bush might care about her war hero son, or other american families like hers. But after refusing to acknowledge Sapir-Niederer at a campaign rally and waiting for her to be dragged away, the first lady continued speaking about her husbands great achievements in the war on terror.

Police have since dismissed the charges against her. But there still doesn't seem to be anyone willing to answer her question. Having made the ultimate sacrifice for her country, I think someone should tell her why.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Let Us Play



There are lots of Canadians who would happily play with a salary cap in place, lots of people dreaming of being able to play. It's our game. Bring it back. Let us play.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

HOCKEY IS CANADA'S GAME

Dear Mr. Bettman:

No lock out please. That is all.

Allie

WE WON!!!

Yay Team Mike Smyth!

Now it is time to go to bed.

WE WON!!!

Yay Team Canada!

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

What does Momentum and Horses have to do with it?

Everytime I see Mayor Bill Smith's slogan of "Keep the Momentum Going" I can't help but think "Don't switch horses in mid-stream..."

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Oh come on. We all know it's NOT a Forest Fire...

Last Thursday, on "Foundation Day," the 56th anniversary of the Communist Regime in North Korea, a mushroom cloud (up to 4 kms in diameter) blasted to life in the remote Ryanggang province (Kim Hyong Jik county). This northeastern area is a heavily militarized area near to known Daepodong 1 and 2 missile bases. The damage and crater left by this explosion is big enough to be observed by satellite. North Korea has both been honest about their aspirations to test a nuclear weapon and recently vocal with their distrust of South Korea given recent reports from that country of testing their own nuclear materials.

All coincidence?

We just read a story in CNN that american sources are suggesting the mushroom cloud is just from a forest fire. Gimme a break.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Some things never get back to the way they were

Three Years Today.

"Every day is hard, but this day is a little bit harder," said Nancy Brandemarti, who was attending the ground zero remembrance for the first time. "This day is just a day to think about him."

Today, parents and grandparents read the list of the 2,749 people killed at the WTC on Sept 11th 2001. The recitation lasted more than two hours. It's odd how just a couple of hours can have such an impact on the world.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Best. Spam. Yet.

So, checking my other email account today I was surprised to come across this email in my junk mail folder with the title of "Saw Summer's Daydreams". I always like feedback and comments from viewers, so I ofcourse read it, skeptical (ofcourse) of it's potential authenticity...

Hi, Your blog Summer's Daydreams is fabulous. (Good so far, I'm thinking) The OB/GYN remark is the best Bushism yet. (OK, obviously really has read my blog...) And I thought he was against adultery. I just started a blog and I am trying to attract some readers. (Great strategy, I must admit) I was wondering if you wouldn't mind popping by and taking a look at it. I'm always open to comments and suggestions.

If you happen to really like it, I'd be more than willing to do a link exchange. (Fair enough) In fact here's my link A New York Escorts Confessions. (nyhotties.com? Hmmmmm, it really is porn spam... just "clever" porn spam) If you would like to exchange links, just send me an email.

xoxo,
Alexa

(I liked that part the best)

So, a little deflated, I go and check out nyhotties.com. And actually, believe it or not, it really is a new blog and not porn afterall! It actually looks kinda cool. I'm gonna check it out more later. Anyone who sends me email that ends in xoxo, Alexa gets extra attention anyday.

One look from you, I drift away...

(In my best singing voice)
I live, my life, to be with you...
No one can do the things you do!
Anything you want, you got it.
Anything you need, you got it.
Anything at all, you got it.
Baby!
Anything you want, Anything you need
Anything at all!


I love you Duncan!

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Happy Birthday Raven Dawn



One day, shortly after Christmas in 1994 my sister told me I was pregnant. I laughed at her - ridiculous, I said - I was just starting to get my figure back after the first baby!

Two weeks later, my jeans didn't fit quite right. Peculiar. A week after that I threw up first thing in the morning. Maybe I was pregnant, but the doctor's office test was negative, and then it seemed my period had come. Hmmmm. So I can't be pregnant right?

It only took me one more week to come to the conclusion that I really was indeed pregnant. I informed my doctor, and after a few days decided it was a good thing, albeit bad timing (I was moving to another province the same month as my due date). The baby grew on me, and I (knowing it was a girl) began to refer to her as Raven. Everyone laughed at me but I didn't care... Where I lived the ravens would come and fly over me, circling, calling, laughing even. Every day. The name was perfect.

A couple of months before she was born I had solidified her name - she would be called Raven Dawn Christina Smyth (After my friend Dawn and my Mother). Still no one but me believed her to be a girl, but I knew her.

Raven joined us the evening of Sept 9th 1995, via C-Section, after I had accidently broken my water moving some boxes and the couch. It was just days after we had moved to Calgary. She was a delightful baby whom almost never cried and slept so much I dreamt of forgetting her places. I have very much enjoyed watching her grow into the fine young woman she is becoming.

Happy Birthday Baby. I love you!

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

How dumb is too dumb?

Oh dear. According to Bush, it seems many american's just aren't living the american dream.

Watch Practicing the Love on Angry Finger (link via WTF People).

Some things you just have to see to believe. He really is as stupid as he looks...

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Last Will and Testament

Well today Duncan and I wrote our Wills, Personal Directives and Power of Attorney documents. Enough people have died this year for us without Wills that we knew we didn't want to be intestate ourselves (especially with kids).

After dinner we even had the kids think about what they wanted in the way of funeral arrangements (I typed them up mini "wills") and hilarity ensued - the kids were surprisingly able to determine what they wanted done with their remains and what type of service they wanted in a fairly serious manner, but some absolute jems of thought made me laugh...

Raven wishes her decorative urn and ashes to be carried to her beachside memorial by a horse. The urn must rest on a pink pillow and have a crown drapped over it.

Wesley wishes to have a plain white urn that Duncan and I are to decorate/paint with any design that we want except for "anything pink, flowery or otherwise girly."

Ah, Peace of mind, here we come!

Saturday, September 04, 2004

My Brother's Last Words

A couple of months before he was killed my brother packaged up a box of his important stuff (mainly pictures and keepsakes) and sent it to his best friend Geoff, with a card and letter attached.

I doubt he had a premonition about his impending death, especially given it's sudden accidental nature, but he did manage to achieve what many of us are left to regret in the end, not saying what you really need or want to say to those you care about. My brother reached out and touched one person that meant the world to him, and he was lucky enough to do it in time. Here is what he wrote:

My Friend,

It would bring me great joy to have this letter find you well. You may indeed find my card to you puzzling to say the least, although I am in full confidence that you will get the meaning in the words and title, for my friend, my brother from another mother as it were.

Anyhow as odd as it may seem your Mother and Father both had a hand in raising me and I have come to think of you more of a brother than my friend!

As it is in all my new knowledge, friends and people I know seem superfluvious in the shadow of the man I would call the only friend I have and the only man I think of and miss more than a good woman.

I know the hour of this card is late, for sure you have more questions then I have the answers to. There has been much afoot in these many months since I have seen you and I am sure more in the past years since I had left that I have let on. Although and to be sure I now know the true meaning of pain, among other emotions. Seems my other friends were right in calling me "Isakawuarte" (benevolent, mischievious, amoral, cunning, sly, resourceful, antagonistic and sometimes destructive). Yes, of all things I have been called or named, I like Isakawuate and it's meaning best.

I digress - and somethings are better said in council of friends with the aid of Ale!

The contents of the box are just some personal affects and in no way dangerous or illegal but I do ask it remain closed for now. Please keep it safe as I shall follow it home.

I hope you could read this, it seems my spoken word still is better than my written. Anyhow, and without further adieu, I shall see you soon my friend, my brother, may your home be filled with Laughter and joy.

Chris.

Friday, September 03, 2004

The Winds of Change...

I figured out today that I have owned my domain now for 2 and a half years.

I'm thinking a complete overhaul is due. I don't know how long it will take to design and finish, but eventually this blog addy will change as I merge everything onto "one" site.

Election stuff is getting exciting. That's all I can say about that (for now).

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Observations of a puppy owner

Who would have thought that there could be something more challenging than childrearing? Who would have thought that "toddler rules" apply to puppies as well?

Duncan and Luna are very cute together. They bring out "the best" in each other, I can't believe we waited so long to get a dog... tonight they have entertained me to no end.

But I have decided that Luna is short for Lunatic and has nothing whatsoever to do with the moon, unless the phases cause her more lunacy...

*rolling eyes*

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Picture Perfect



Finally our professional pictures are done. It should be noted that whilst eagerly tearing off my garter my delightfully darling husband bit me. It was not the first time that day he had bit me, either - and it wasn't the last!

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Welcome Luna

Allow us to introduce our newest family member, our new puppy,

Luna.




Luna (latin for Moon) was born on March 21 of this year in Thailand. She is a Blue Heeler cross with black and white markings (the Queensland Blue Heeler is a Border Collie/Dingo Worrigal hybrid). Luna came to Canada sometime in July of this year, and found her way to us through Dawn, who brought Luna down to us after the funeral on the 27th - the night of the full moon.

I wanted her to have a name that was unique and reflected her connection with the Island. Luna's name is derived from/after the (now famous) Killer Whale Luna, who has adopted a small First Nations community near Gold River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

The Mowachaht-Muchalaht believe Luna to be the reincarnation of Chief Ambrose Maquinna, who before his death declared that his spirit would return to his people as Kakaawin (a Killer Whale). Three days after he died, Luna appeared, stayed and has lived there for over three years. His traditional name is Tsuux-iit.

LUNA ON DOGSTER!

Wow. A few links there for you to click on (the ones in orange). And after you are finished surfing, make sure to drop me some helpful hints on house training adorable puppies who forget to pee outside!

Friday, August 27, 2004

Good Night Sweetheart, Good Night



R.I.P. Christopher John Perkins

Till we meet tomorrow, Good night sweetheart,
Sleep will banish sorrow.
Tears and parting may make us forlorn,
But with the dawn a new day is born,
So I'll say Good night, sweetheart,
Tho' I'm not beside you, Good night, sweetheart,
Still my love will guide you
Dreams enfold you, in each one I'll hold you,

Good night, sweetheart, good night
.


Chris's memorial went well today. It was comforting to see and hear the many things that those that knew him remebered most about him. I enjoyed hearing their kind words and came away knwing my brother a little more than I did before. I especially want to thank the people who helped me pull it together; Duncan, who graciously did the introduction and summation, Geoff (my brother's best friend) who said the Eulogy in a truly touching and heartwarming manner, Wesley (my son) who read one of my favourite poems; and Nikki (my long time friend who declared "I knew Chris when he was melting GI Joe guys") gave out the flowers bulbs we gave away in rememberance. It was a nice (and quick) ceremony and I was happy to see everyone again, albeit next time I hope it to be under different circumstances...

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Today is the big day...

WE GOT A PUPPY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, August 23, 2004

Life is just what happens to you while you're busy making other plans

Out on the ocean, ship sailing away
I can hardly wait To see you come of age
But I guess we'll just have to be patient
Cause it's a long way to go, a hard row to hoe
Yes it's a long way to go, but in the meantime,

Before you cross the street, take my hand,
Life is just what happens to you
while you're busy making other plans,

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful Boy.

What's in a name?

Thinking up puppy names... Heres what I have dreamt up so far, let me know what you think:

Sasha; Sariah; Paris; Indianna (Indy); Iggy; Willow; Marley; Karma; Reese; Milo; Kyra; Sage; Mieko; Asia; Froddo; Bilbo; Kaida; Lilo; Gimli; Rohan; Arwen; Bailey; Joey.

Suggestions?

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Love Actually



"When I get gloomy with the state of the world I think of the Arrival's Gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there. Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the twin towers, as far as I know, none of the messages from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge, they were all messages of love. And if you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love, actually, is all around."

Ahhh. Romantic Comedies. There's been a couple recently that we have enjoyed, Love Actually and 50 First Dates. There is nothing like a romantic comedy for sending the kids to bed early, cuddling up together under a blanket on the love seat, giggling and holding hands for a good couple of hours. I'd recommend both movies, especially if you have a desire to be distracted from the demands of mundane life for a little while.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Good News all round!

CATHY IS HAVING A BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yay for Babies!

Motto to live by

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, Champagne in one hand, strawberries in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO - what a ride!"

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Recently I have been trying to take just one day at a time...

But today it seems that several of them stuck up and hit me all at once. What a long day I had today. I feel like I was on the phone forever; I'm tired and I have a headache. But hopefully by tomorrow evening I will be able to declare that my brother's arrangements are in place and that we have a memorial to go to.

Duncan brought me back a box of photo's from my Mom when he was in Calgary that I just finished scanning and making picture disks for people. Interestingly enough, one of those pictures was a cute little picture of my brother wearing my frilly nightgown on Christmas morning when he was six. This picture was often the source of embarrassment for him, which ofcourse (being a fine and upstanding sister) I capitalized on as much as possible. When I first scanned this picture in, the file showed up blank. It was just a white picture. That made me smile. I figured if my brother really didn't want me to include that picture on his photodisk then the same would be repeated when I scanned it the second time as well (then that really would constitute a sign).



Isn't that cute? I almost forgot he was also wearing my pink housecoat. He would so kick my ass if he was here...

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

120.00 Later...

... and kid's school supplies are done. Well, not including indoor shoes, school clothes, hair cuts, school lunch stuff, lunch room fees and the supplementary school supply lists that the kids will come home with in the first week of school.

But at the very least I can say they are excited to be going back. That's worth something.

On the morning show today

Rod Kurtz and Allie Wojtaszek, CBC Radio Edmonton, (CBX-AM) 740 AM on the dial.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

On the edge of something much too deep...

Remember all the good times that we had
Let them slip away from us when things got bad
Clearly I first saw you, smiling in the sun
I want to feel your warmth upon me,
I want to be the one

I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories

I'm so tired,I can't sleep
Standin' on the edge of something much too deep
It's funny how we feel so much
but we cannot say a word
We are screaming inside, we can't be heard

I'm so afraid to love you, but more afraid to lose
Clinging to a past that doesn't let me choose...

I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories

Sarah McLachlan

Something's are nice to hear

Nice to know I am someone's hero right now...

Thanks Joel!

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Only Time...

Who can say where the road goes,
Where the day flows?
Only time...

And who can say if your love grows,
As your heart chose?
Only time...

Who can say why your heart sighs,
As your love flies?
Only time...

And who can say why your heart cries,
When your love dies?
Only time...

Who can say when the roads meet,
That love might be,
In your heart.

And who can say when the day sleeps,
If the night keeps all your heart?
Night keeps all your heart...

Enya

Friday, August 13, 2004

I believe...

I believe
That imagination is stronger than knowledge.
That myth is more potent than history.
That dreams are more powerful than facts.
That hope always triumphs over experience.
That laughter is the only cure for grief.
And I believe that love is stronger than death.

Robert Fulghum

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Dear Editor's;

My brother, Chris Perkins, was killed on the Lion’s Gate Bridge August 8th. He was trying to direct cars around a stalled vehicle that was blocking traffic over the bridge. He was hit by a speeding vehicle from behind, thrown more than 10 feet, and killed instantly. He had just turned 30 years old.

This year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) designated road safety as a global public health issue, stating that road traffic deaths ranked second only to HIV/AIDS in leading causes of death for people aged 15–44. Each year, many more than 1 million people are killed on roads, and 50 million more are injured in some way.

It does seem to be an unavoidable fact that accidents happen, but by their very nature they are almost always preventable. Admittedly, few drivers set out to kill anyone, but this detail rarely eases the pain of the road bereaved.

The reality is that road safety is not an accident. It is up to each one of us to take the actions necessary to limit traffic related injuries and fatalities, regardless of how we are using the roadway.

Slow down. Speed is a factor in many road accidents, and it can turn any situation into a fatal one in just a few seconds.

Look where you're going. When driving, maintain an accurate perception of what is going on around you so you always have time to react appropriately.

Be considerate of other road-users, and try to keep a safe zone in mind when passing an emergency situation on the road. You never know when someone is going to be suddenly in front of you.

And for pedestrians; remember, the only thing that can stop a car is the driver. Be careful of how much trust with which you step out onto a road, you never know when or how that driver might be distracted. Some mistakes can’t be fixed.

My brother was somebody important and, like everyone else, he had dreams and a life to live, a life that ended much too soon. I only had one brother. Please slow down.

Allie Wojtaszek
Edmonton, Alberta

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Today, 1978 seems so long ago.

Monday, August 09, 2004

How is it that a life can be reduced to this?


It's weird when you spend your time reading about other people's misfortunes in the news to suddenly be faced with seeing your own with such candidacy. For everyone looking at this story, that's just a body of someone they didn't know, someone who tried to help, who tried to do what was right as they saw fit, someone they are easily distanced from, or worse yet, even just another headline. It's odd to try to see this from that point of view.

For me, that's my brother under that blanket. His name is Chris Perkins and he turned 30 in July. That's the last image I will ever see of him. Sometimes Life really bites you in the ass. This has been a really bad year for that.

If my head wasn't screwed on...

I am faced with a day of being jabbed by sharp pointy objects intended to drain my crucial body fluids by our trusted health care professionals. I'd rather be at the beach.

Oh yeah, go Wild Fire!

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Don't Run. We are your Friends.

Tonight we were treated to a wonderfully roasted dinner at Quynn's house where we also had a treat to celebrate our one month wedding anniversary - we watched both Spaceballs and Mars Attacks! I'd never seen them before and laughed my way through them both.

I have almost finished updating my home page since the last name and marital staus change, including a page for our ceremony and vows as well. Feel free to visit, there's no charge. And (drum roll please) there's more to come!

Happy one month anniversary baby!