Tuesday, June 28, 2005


Same Sex Marriage Legal in Canada!

"This is about the Charter of Rights. A right is a right and that is what this vote tonight is all about."
- Prime Minister Paul Martin

Bird Flu in China out of control

The more than 5000 migratory birds dead from the birdflu in China is not the most troubling news that the Chinese government is trying to keep concealed.

Once again, Boxun news (cf SARS) is breaking a medical story from inside of China, suggesting that there may be as many as 700 human deaths from the H5N1 bird flu virus.

The implications of such news, if confirmed, are staggering. Once the virus mutates to a form easily spread between humans the projected world wide death toll numbers well above 7 million people; the 1918 Flu killed 40 million.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Stars of Thorncliffe Awards Ceremony 2005

Celebrating Successes

Another school year is over and Duncan and I are pleased to share in the successes of Wesley and Raven and their classmates. It really has been an awesome year; good teachers, great friends and many memories.

Wesley was honoured to be a 2005 recipient of the Lou Yaniv Goodwill Ambassador Award, and Raven recieved Academic Excellence (with Honours). They also both recieved the Thorncliffe Diamond of Distinction Gold Award. We are very proud of them!

Thanks to Doug for the pictures!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Portrait of a Family

The Wojtaszek Clan

"It is a wise father that knows his own child."
- William Shakespeare


On this Fathers Day I want to thank you for being a wonderful father figure for Wesley and Raven. I want you to know that in the four years that we have shared together as a family, I have noticed all the sacrifices you have made, all the patient efforts to teach important lessons, the time invested to get to know them and all of the times you have shared not only my pride but my frustrations as well. Your eloquent examples of hard work, successes, balancing real life with play and the good choices you make in life impress Wesley and Raven and I know each one of them looks up to you in a special way. I know it’s not always easy and I know how hard you try at times to remain as successful as you are. Thank you for loving them, and thank you for making us a family.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Where's Bob?

"We're not after money. We're after Bob."
- Janet Wilson, ex-wife of Bob

As reported in the Toronto Sun, the strange story of Robert Petch, or what remains of him anyways; Mr Petch has unfortunatley discovered that the worst of his problems was not his death, but Canada Post. Lost in the mail, poor Bob has essentially missed his own funeral, and it remains to be seen if he will be found at all.

If anyone is wondering what somebodies ashes are worth, Canada Post has sent the family $600.00 and wished them well in their "pretend" funeral.

Hat tip: Quynn

Thank God it's Friday.

I woke up this morning at 5-something, convinced it was Saturday so I turned off the alarm, closed the blinds and snuggled back up to my adoring husband. An hour or so later (emphasis on late) Duncan drags me from the sweet comfort of sleep to inform me that it is indeed FRIDAY. In a panic I jumped up quickly to get ready only to have my nose explode - blood everywhere. When that minor crisis abates I realize that I now cant find my purse, and worse, we've missed the bus. So I phone my boss to let him know I am going to be late, and set off.

Coming off Whitemud onto Fox Drive was slow as the traffic at a stand still. A major accident is blocking an intersection and fire trucks are everywhere. You would be amazed at home much room on a road a couple of fire trucks take up. The bus finally picks its way through the mess and we are on our way again. Then, just as we are pulling onto the university, the girl sitting in front of us starts crying. When her sister asks what is wrong she says she can't see. I assume (looking at the text book in her hand and taking note of the panic in her sister) that this is a new development. Her sister calls her mom and then tries to help her off the bus, except she collapses on the ground. So there I stayed, cradling her for a bit, talking to her and insisting her sister call an ambulance.

Believe it or not, I was only 5 minutes late. But given that this all happened within my first 90 minutes of being awake, I was feeling like my day should be over already, let alone just starting. I'm so very glad it's Friday. We need this break this week!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

The New Patriot Act

"You have the right to free speech - as long as you’re not dumb enough to actually try it."
- The Clash, These Are Your Rights

President George W. Bush

The broader powers given to government, police and law authorities by the USA Patriot Act were promised to be temporary. Now the President wants them, and further ammendments, to become permanent.

"My message to Congress is clear: The terrorist threats against us will not expire at the end of the year, and neither should the protections of the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act has not diminished American liberties; the Patriot Act has helped to defend American liberties."

It's a good thing he cleared that up. I was a tad concerned for a moment. The reality is that the Bush administration's attempts to expand and broaden the federal government's powers with the USA Patriot Act should concern all americans. I hope they are paying attention. Rights are more easily lost than regained.

The law itself expires - and with good reason - at the end of this year. Legislation to renew 16 provisions of the law, and several disturbing ammendments proposed by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, is progressing through Congress.

That committee's ammendments include:

  1. Allowing the FBI to issue "administrative subpoenas" to collect evidence in terrorism cases without going to a judge.
  2. Allowing the Justice Department to gather information under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and it's secret provisions allowing for a criminal prosecution.
  3. Make it easier for the FBI to get copies of personal mail.
  4. Greater powers of search and seizure allowing law enforcement officers to search homes and businesses without a warrant or notifying the owners.
  5. Extends protections for internet service providers who voluntarily turn over e-mails to law enforcement without the fear of civil lawsuits from their customers.
  6. Allowing the attorney general to issue subpoenas for business records, including medical, financial and gun, hotel, and education documents, without the target's permission.
  7. Allowing the FBI to access your library borrowing records.
But americans would know if their rights were being violated, or if they were under investigation, or if the state regarded them a terrorist, right? Wrong. The law prevents those who have been, or are, the subject of a search from knowing about it because the law requires that these searches be kept secret (in the interest of national security, of course). But don't worry, your boss, your doctor, your librarian, your financial institution, your internet service provider, your mailman, your university and your travel agent might know. Oh, and you'd know when you were arrested, although you might not be told on what grounds.

"When lawmakers seek to rewrite our Fourth Amendment rights, they should at least have the gumption to do so in public. Americans have a reasonable expectation that their federal government will not gather records about their health, their wealth and the transactions of their daily life without probable cause of a crime and without a court order."
- Lisa Graves, ACLU senior counsel for legislative strategy

Land of the Free my butt. More like the "Land of the Little Less Free Everyday But Not Noticing It."

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Underneath His Clothes...

Music is something that has always been important to Duncan and I, and when we became friends it developed as one of the special many bases of our relationship. We spent the summer of 2000 sitting in the sun and listening to music, sharing our favourites from before there was an "us", discovering each other through our shared history with the same types of music we both loved.

Today we have been sitting in the livingroom together listening to music, and with each song a memory, a feeling, a special time we have shared together. So many have so much meaning (like the songs we first listened to, or the songs we played at our wedding, or the first song Duncan ever sang in my ear) it's hard to chose one to share here.

This one song I first heard at the end of 2001. I remember thinking how beautiful it was (I had tears in my eyes when a friend played it). The lyrics resonated with me and my feelings so strongly I couldn't wait to play it for Duncan so I made him a CD with it on it. I wanted him to know that the song spoke of how I felt for him, how much I loved him, how I chose him over all else, how he had changed me and my world, just by being in it.

I want him to know I still feel it.

You're a song
Written by the hands of God
Don't get me wrong cause
This might sound to you a bit odd
But you own the place
Where all my thoughts go hiding
And right under your clothes
Is where I find them

Because of you
I forgot the smart ways to lie
Because of you
I'm running out of reasons to cry
When the friends are gone
When the party's over
We will still belong to each other

I love you more than all that's on the planet
Movin' talkin' walkin' breathing
You know it's true
Oh baby it's so funny
You almost don't believe it
As every voice is hanging from the silence
Lamps are hanging from the ceiling
Like a lady tied to her manners
I'm tied up to this feeling

Underneath Your Clothes
There's an endless story
There's the man I chose
There's my territory
And all the things I deserve
For being such a good girl honey

- SHAKIRA, Underneath your Clothes

Music inhabits the place where my soul lives, and I truly believe that Duncan is a song written by the hands of god, written for me. Thanks for sharing the music with me sweetheart.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Annihilating Terri Schiavo

It's been a while since I thought of Terri Schiavo, especially in comparision to the watch I kept as her death was forced upon her. But today I came across this article, very provoking, written by Dr. Paul McHugh, who is the University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University. He speaks so eloquently that it is worth reading the entire article, but I have abstracted a tiny part where he speaks of his experience with a man, who until a botched brain operation left him in a state similiar to Terri Schiavo's state, "had been quite simply the foremost clinical scientist in America."

"But this did not ease the task before me upon visiting his bedside each morning as I searched for something interesting to say to my jaded interns. Soon enough they began to grumble that I was repeating myself as I would note dutifully that, although Dr. A’s apathetic state was profound and unchanging, occasionally such a patient might, if startled, give out a coherent response revealing some human consciousness. Looking at the man lying before them, they thought they had ample reason to doubt the applicability of my ideas to this case. A particularly bold intern challenged me one morning: "Enough of that, show us that he can respond."

I knew perfectly well that I was being baited over a matter where I was unsure of my ground, but I moved briskly from the records cart to the bed, shook the patient by the shoulder, and asked in a sharp voice: "Dr. A, what’s the serum calcium in pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism?" For the first time in my experience with him, he glanced up at me and, loudly enough for all the interns to hear, said: "It’s just about normal."

A full and complete sentence had emerged from a man whom none of us had ever heard speak before. His answer was correct — as he should know, having discovered and named the condition I asked him about. Subsequently, in all the months we cared for him, he would never utter another word. But what a difference that moment had made to all of us. We matured that day not only in matters of the mind but in matters of the heart. Somehow, deep inside that body and damaged brain, he was there—and our job was to help him. If we had ever had misgivings before, we would never again doubt the value of caring for people like him."

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Extraverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving

The Champion Idealist (eNFp).

Today at work I did the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) workshop. Not Surprisingly, I am an ENFP. Here is the short break down of characteristics:

Warmly enthusiastic and imaginative. Sees life as full of possibilities. Makes connections between events and information very quickly, and confidently proceeds based on the patterns they see. Want a lot of affirmation from others, and readily give appreciation and support. Spontaneous and flexible, often rely on their ability to improvise and their verbal fluency.

Today I had a few of those "aha" moments I am so fond of. Duncan is an ISTJ, which is the exact opposit of ENFP and likely why we go so well together. I did find one web page that suggested the perfect match for an ENFP was an ISTJ - but I think it might have been suggesting they were one of the few personalities that could put up with us so well! But, seriously, I do think we complete each other in many ways, this is just one more way I have of understanding it.

I had a lot of fun today. There is alot I could blog about but we are heading out to dinner at Quynn's house any second now and I still need to get ready... how eNFp is that?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Kibbles and Bits and Bits and Bits

Can Elephants Jump?

We have the most interesting conversations at my new workplace (which I am enjoying, by the way). One of the most recent was a mini discussion on the physiology of an elephants legs and feet. Most people think that it is impossible for an elephant to jump and this popular understanding tends to be considered as truth. Yet some elephants do jump. Mostly baby elephants, and usually only if provoked, but there have been a few sightings of adult elephants jumping in the wild. It seems that an elephants body size and weight is not really conducive to the act of jumping, so with little reason for an elephant to jump in its natural habitat (it’s only natural predator is man and 14 tonne tigers) and it’s sheer size making it able to walk through or over just about everything, I can understand why they don’t jump. Why leap when you can trudge?

Java Java Java!

Good organic coffee is hard to find, but once you’ve found it – it sure is hard to forget. So flavourful is the organic roast coffee at the Sugarbowl beneath Duncan’s office that I don’t just crave it, sometimes I dream about it. It really is the perfect coffee, free of chemicals (no pesticides and herbicides), low in acid, non bitter, fairly traded and it’s grown in an environmentally friendly manner. I love the way it makes me feel as it’s warmth flows without resistance into my empty, breakfast free tummy. Even better is spending that time in the morning with Duncan before we head in separate directions to work. Mmmmmmm. It’s the best of all worlds!

Lady bug, Lady bug, Fly Away...

Yesterday when I was walking through a large parking lot I came across the tiniest green leaf, laying there like an oasis in the middle of the bleakness. When I looked even closer I discovered that there was a Ladybug perched on this little green leaf. Their combined vivid colours in the midst of grey vastness gave me pause for thought. It seemed to me to be an overwhelming illustration of pure and simple faith. It made me think of how we, when sometimes caught in the middle of bleakness ourselves, grasp at whatever beauty we can – and how we determinably hang on to that regardless of the circumstances we are faced with.

"Peeking" Duck: Keeping an eye on China

We’ve all heard about the potential that Bird Flu possesses as a threat to humans if the virus manages to evolve into a form that can easily spread from person to person. In the interest of self preservation, I keep an eye on it’s developments. Pandemics have dwindled our numbers since the beginning of time, hitting us hard and fast when they come. But now, for the first time in the history of mankind, we potentially have the ability to keep a worldwide pandemic at bay. IF all the researchers, scientists, medical professionals and politicians in the world work together during the available window of opportunity. With nations like China on our collective team (like it or not) even I realize that this is a big IF. But rational thought will lead us all to the conclusion that the risk of disease increases if we fail to protect ourselves, and hopefully this time history will witness that self preservation is indeed a worldwide human trait.

Monday, June 06, 2005


Canadian Reserve Forces on Juno Beach

"From year to year, from generation to generation, men and women who love freedom remember this day that is unique in history. The Allied soldiers restored freedom to Europe, and restored dignity to men."
- Hamlaoui Mekachera, Normandy

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Some debts can not be paid

This blog post contains some graphic content of a disturbingly sexual nature.

I have recently read some differing "blogopinions" on the overall fairness of the terms of release set for Karla Homolka, undoubtedly Canada's most notorious female convict, and I have some thoughts on the matter. OK, I have a lot of thoughts.

Judge Jean Beaulieu recently ruled that Karla Homolka remains a danger to society and set strict conditions on her behaviour for after her July release date. These types of conditions are not uncommon for convicted criminals deemed to be dangerous offenders. I would even go so far as to say that members of our society are happy that legislation like this exists to protect them and their families from people who are most likely to re-offend.

Note that Karla did sign Beaulieu's conditions and has asked her lawyer to let Canadians know she intends to abide by them. But don’t feel too safe, it’s only for one year.

As such, for the next year, Karla will report to police once a month, stay away from convicted criminals (this includes her boyfriend, Jean-Paul Gerbet, who murdered his common law wife), inform authorities if she intends to travel to Ontario, undergo court mandated therapy, and not be in contact with anyone under the age of 16. Lastly, she has been prohibited from communicating with Paul Bernardo and the families of their victims. Beaulieu made it clear that violation of any of these conditions once she is released means an additional two years in prison.

What did Karla do that was so bad anyways?

Tammy Lyn Homolka

Tammy was Karla's fifteen year old sister. On December 23, 1990 Karla, using halcion sleeping pills she had crushed into alcoholic drinks, induced a state of unconsciousness in Tammy, intending her as a Christmas gift for her husband, Paul Bernardo. Before Tammy died, Paul and Karla took turns raping her until Paul began to penetrate her anally. This is when Tammy began to choke on her own vomit. Karla turned her upside down to clear her airway but to no avail. They hid the evidence, dressed her and called 911, but Tammy was already dead.

Stephen Williams in his book Invisible Darkness describes Karla's plan for Tammy.

She had really thought this thing with Tammy through. After all, she did not want to kill her own sister; she just wanted to knock her out and give her to Paul for Christmas. They sedated animals before they put them to sleep for surgery, so it should be all right to do it to her sister..." "A truly organized rape, as only a thoughtful sister could plan. Maybe even the most thought out and organized rape ever."

Tammy’s death at that time was deemed to be accidental. Because Tammy’s actual cause of death was revealed only after the plea deal, Karla was not be charged with it.

Leslie Mahaffy

Kidnapped at knife point on Friday, June 14, 1991, Leslie was made to strip for the camera, was raped numerous times and beaten for over 24 hours. Paul directed Karla in numerous sexual acts with Leslie, giving elaborate instructions before trading places to take his turn. There was no one to hear Leslie’s screams of pain as Paul raped her anally her with his trademark brute force. She was then (apparently) strangled with an electrical cord before being dismembered, encased in blocks of cement and dumped in a nearby lake. Her remains were discovered on June 29, the very day that Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka were married.

Kristen French

Also kidnapped by knife point, Karla and Paul grabbed Kristen from right outside of her all girls Catholic secondary school on April 16, 1992. They took her home and made her strip out of her school uniform for them, videotaping her using the bathroom. Paul and Karla shared in molesting Kristen. Her rape and torture was much more extensive than Leslie’s was and lasted 3 days, during which time she was forced to fellate Paul and Karla used objects to penetrate her repeatedly. They urinated on her. Eventually they discarded her body in a trash dump near Burlington, in time for Paul and Karla to make Easter dinner at Karla’s parent’s house.

Jane Doe

Jane Doe was a wedding gift for Paul from Karla, meant to replace the loss of Tammy in their fantasy games. Jane was a 15 year old friend of Tammy’s who was unfortunate enough to resemble Tammy. Karla befriended young Jane and on the night she was to present her to Paul she gave her alcohol laced with Halcion and waited for her to pass out. Karla undressed Jane and made love to the unconscious girl first. Paul took her virginity and raped her anally. She didn’t awake until the next morning so had little idea what had happened. In the future Karla invited Jane back again and again, but Jane was far from the ideal sex slave, refusing to let Paul have actual intercourse with her (as she thought she was still a virgin) and agreeing only to oral sex. The druggings continued. (It is worth noting that now 29, Jane Doe wants Karla Homolka charged for drugging, raping and almost killing her when she was a child. She asserts that neither she, nor her parents at any time agreed with prosecutors to waive charges against Homolka for her rapes.)

In all these cases the camera in the corner
captured everything. They taped it all.

I don’t believe that Karla is as innocent in these crimes or as safe as she and her lawyers would lead us to believe.

Paul, who was known to authorities as the Scarobouro Rapist, was the perpetrator of numerous rapes over many years. This behaviour continued even after he married Karla with her knowledge. Both young and old, he brutally raped them. However, his MO never included killing them.

Instead, the girls that died were the ones that were victims of both Karla and Paul together. Paul has always blamed the murders of the Leslie and Kristen on Homolka, saying that they happened during times that he had left them alone with Karla. However, since the actual murders themselves were not videotaped the point is moot.

Her word against his, whatever that is worth.

It does stand to reason that if Karla had the opportunity to make a plea bargain to lessen her own fate she would. Just because she testified that Paul killed the girls doesn’t mean he actually did. By pleading guilty to manslaughter and testifying against her husband she received a twelve year sentence instead of sharing his fate. Scared of a lifetime in jail Karla had every motive to lie.

An offender like Karla does not "pay her debt to society" and then get to walk free, forgiven. Being classified as a dangerous sexual offender gives authorities the ability to protect possible future victims from her sick intentions.

Karla Homolka is the worst kind of predator. She preys upon children, including her own sister and her sister’s friends. She is violent and uninhibited. She utilizes drugs to incapacitate her victims. Her crimes subsequently get worse in length and nature. She refuses to admit how much she enjoyed her part in the horrific scenarios that she created as gifts for her husband’s pleasure or to take part in any meaningful rehabilitation. She shows no remorse.

And next month, she's out.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

What is in your purse?

I was looking for something in my purse just now and I realized just how much stuff I was able to cram into a relatively small handbag. I have long been amazed at the kinds of things that women think to stow away in their purse - you know, just in case.

My Purse (bought at ALDO)

Right now in my handbag I have: Extra Strength Tylenol, 1 cold and flu tablet, several little salt and pepper packets, a sewing kit, a book of ten stamps, some fast food coupons, a small lipstick, two eyeliner pencils, a travel toothbrush and toothpaste, a hairbrush and small mirror, Visine, lip balm, several pens and hair elastics, some extra keyring rings, small box of crayons, a stuffed elephant (placed there by my daughter), a carabeener, a small pencil, band aids, extra bus tickets, little packets of moisturizer sun screen, tweezers, a small vanity kit with q-tips and emery board, a daytimer, address book, a small button that says Chicks Kick Ass, a bunch of small club discount cards, a leatherman micra tool set, folding scissors, nail clippers, various coinage, spare earrings and my wallet (ID, other cards, bus pass, cheque book, pictures of Duncan, Wesley, Raven and of our wedding, business cards - Duncan's and mine, and my growing collection of Return of the Sith movie tickets). Sometimes I also carry my sunglasses, my epipen and an inhaler, just not today.

What do you have in yours?