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...


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.


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 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

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.