Friday, September 30, 2005

Life is so unfair

They found her body.

Still Looking for Ajay

Via: CFCN.

A frantic search is underway for a woman from the Siksika First Nation.

Ellen Kelly Wolf Leg is a student at SAIT. She went missing from her home Friday night while the rest of her family was out for a walk. Volunteers from the community started looking for her right away and called the RCMP.

Investigators are concerned because the 18-year-old left behind her cell phone and her purse which had over 100 dollars in it. They have found no sign of a struggle and no clues as to her whereabouts. Calgary police are also assisting with the investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call Gleichen RCMP at 1-403-734-3056.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

My Friend's Sister is Missing


Ellen Kelly Wolfleg, a.k.a. "AJAY"
Native, 5'1" 110 lbs, brown eyes, long dark hair
18 years old

Last seen: Siksika Nation (Calgary, Alberta)
on Friday 23 September 2005
If you have any information, please contact
the Gleichen RCMP 403-734-3923

Monday, September 26, 2005

Our Fall Trip!

Saturday may have been the most perfect day ever created in this province. Duncan, his Dad, his brother Will and I headed out to the mountains for the day, and everything was beautiful! The weather was perfect, the air was fresh and crisp, the fall colours were amazing and the mountains had just the right amount of snow dusting their peaks.

We hiked around Bankhead, an old deserted mining town, and then stopped briefly at the Cascade Ponds. From there we headed up to Lake Louise, which was fabulous! The glacier and the lake are amazing - I've seen it before in pictures but was happy to go there in person. We are definatly going back there again (I'm thinking canoeing across the lake to see the glacier up close). We had Mountain Stew for lunch and while we sat there I had a hard time averting my eyes from the Glacier and the mountains around us. After that we drove back into Banff and down to the Bow River falls (which is at the bottom of the hill that the Banff Springs Hotel is on) before starting our journey back to Calgary.

We stopped in Canmore and got some good pictures of the Three Sisters and then booted back to Calgary to get Will home on time. We ended up having some time before the kids would be done at their Dad's wedding so Duncan took me for a walk down along the Elbow River (which was gorgeous - all yellows and oranges) and then to his favourite ice cream store for milkshakes. After getting the kids we drove back out to Cochrane, which is where we were staying at our friends house and socialized for the better part of the night. On Sunday Duncan's Dad took us for dinner (Vietnamese - there's a special reason for this but I don't know if I am allowed to blog about it yet...) and then we headed home.

More pictures here and here!

Chamber of Secrets...

My ex-husband got married on Saturday. I have a small secret to confess – I couldn’t be happier for him and his new wife.

Everyone keeps asking me if I am "okay" or "how do I feel about it." I see them glance quickly at me when I talk about it, trying to discern whatever they think "my true hidden feelings" should be. I must admit I don’t understand this behaviour – do other people really breakdown when their Ex’s remarry? To be frank, I can’t imagine a better possible sum to the equation. The happier he is the happier, and stronger, my blended family becomes.

I could never hate my first husband – nor could I hate his wife for that matter, as she was my friend long before they got together. Hate is such a wasteful, unproductive and childish emotion, and one can never be truly happy if they allow hate to consume even a small part of their life. As I am amazingly happy with my life it only makes good sense to wish that also for them. They are both good people, afterall, and if there is anything in this world to celebrate it is good people coming together.

I wish him and his new wife the same happiness that I cherish in my own life – the happiness that reaches into every corner of the heart; that rings with laughter and lingers in smiles; that lives in memories and yet blooms anew every single day; the kind of happiness that fills the home and life with love, laughter and playfullness.

Congratulations, Mark and Val Smyth, and best wishes!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Hurricanes and Gas Pains

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Calm before the Storm

Ever spend a life time waiting for something, trying to prepare for what is half expected but so distant that it seems like it might not be real, or even probable?

Yesterday morning I woke up, a vivid dream slipping fast from my conciousness, leaving me with only the overwhelming feeling that "it has already began." So, if the waiting's done I can only hope that I am in the right place, whatever that might mean, and that my role becomes apparent to me.

Rita is now a category five hurricane. If it seems like a banner year for hurricanes this year, it is. Normally hurricane season in the gulf sees about 11 hurricanes in total; this season doesn't end until November and already there's been 21. According to CNN, Rita is the third largest hurricane in recorded history, but I have a feeling that these types of headlines will soon be commonplace in our world.

It is the winds of change.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Keep Honking, I'm Reloading...

Ever feel like you need a little extra fire power? How about an F-16 or a Mig21?


Fall is here... Break out the Hot Chocolate

I captured this tree on the U of A campus this morning while hanging out with Duncan's cousin Allie. I think this tree in particular caught my attention as it reminded me of the burning tree in The Ring, which we watched last night. Tonight we will watch The Ring Two!

I think I will finally have to admit that it is Fall and bid summer a fond farewell. I do like Fall, it's a pretty time of year and the colours are amazing. I think I am going to spend this week enjoying Fall, kicking through piles of leaves, and a short Fall trip somewhere is in order!

Friday, September 16, 2005

"Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies"

Propaganda, cultural distortion, brainwashing, casual deception, lies... What happens when a lie is told long enough and loud enough?

Hi Bingo.

I appreciate biting social commentary and Bingo, albeit old now (1998) is Brilliant. An animated adaptation of a short skit called "Please Disregard This Play" (the Neo-Futurists) Bingo challenges us to think (for ourselves), or atleast suspect that we should.

A fatherly clown so real it's surreal, a cute little girl who morphs into a hideous creature, and a man made of money. It all sounds vaguely familiar...

I'm not Bingo.


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Legacy of a Dream

On April 12, 1980 I had just turned 8 years old. Terry Fox, a boy from a town very close to mine, had just started his run across Canada. Everyone was very excited about this and we watched on TV every night. It was called The Marathon of Hope. At that young age I had no idea what cancer was, or the kind of impact it would have on my later life, nor had I reason or need for hope - but I knew a hero when I saw one.

"... by next April I will be ready to achieve something that for me was once only a distant dream reserved for the world of miracles – to run across Canada to raise money for the fight against cancer. The running I can do, even if I have to crawl every last mile. We need your help. The people in cancer clinics all over the world need people who believe in miracles.

I am not a dreamer, and I am not saying that this will initiate any kind of definitive answer or cure to cancer. But I believe in miracles. I have to..."

143 days later Terry told Canada that he had to stop his run. I remember he cried, or maybe it was me, I don't fully remember. It just all seemed so terribly unfair that even though he had tried so hard, even though he was so close, he would be unable to finish. That's when I learned that cancer was terribly unfair, and to prove it Terry died on June 28, 1981. He was only 22 years old.

Twenty five years later I have lost my Father, my Mother in law, two Aunts, an Uncle and countless friends-of-family (and family-of-friends) to this thing called cancer. Too many if you ask me. It's time to really do something about it. We need to find a cure, and to do that we need to fund as much research as neccessary.

We're sponsoring Toby in the Terry Fox Run. He is running in honour of his Mother, who died this year after a short fight with cancer. Please consider sponsoring him as well. Every little bit helps and it's for a good cause.

If you need any more convincing go and read Terry's Journal. It really is inspiring.

"If you’ve given a dollar, you are part of the Marathon of Hope."
- Terry Fox

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Where were you when the planes hit the Towers?

Everyone remembers where they were and what they were during when the planes hit the twin towers of the World Trade Centre. It is like a moment preserved in a fracture of time, a moment when everything changed.

I have a unique story of that day. I was in Canmore Alberta, helping a friend of a friend clean up thier house to sell it. We turned on the TV and was shocked (as I am sure everyone was) as we watched the news unfold. It was hard to get any real work done that day (although we did), it was difficult to see how any kind of mundane house work could be even remotely important anymore.

That morning I spoke to someone working in a building in downtown New York. She was aware something was going on but due to working in a call centre she had not been allowed to leave since her shift started and didn't know what had happened. So I had the odd experience of relaying the heartbreaking news of what had happened to someone actually in New York. We talked for almost an hour.

Where were you?

Friday, September 09, 2005


Just stop and look at this girl. Her first day as a Crossing Patrol Guard is also her first DOUBLE DIGIT BIRTHDAY. Yes, Raven is 10 years old. The years are flying by, I guess that's life... but days like this make me see it even more.

Happy Birthday Princess!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Equality and Justice under the Law for EVERYONE.

I must admit I am concerned about the prospect of allowing Islamic Law greater influence over family disputes here in Canada. Canadian laws protect families and ensure the rights of children and those of both parents are intact through the process of mediation, custody and divorce.

The Shari'ah does not. Its gender based custody and divorce laws leave the woman with frighteningly little or no rights at all, depending on its interpretation.

Divorcing, as it is understood in the Shari’ah, occurs when the husband says to his wife "I divorce you" three times, although some Muslim scholars argue once is enough. The wife only has this right if it was specifically written into the marriage contract. This act is thought to effectively and irrevocably sever the marriage, however, if a divorce is considered revocable for whatever reason the husband may resume marital relations with his wife without her consent. If the divorce is legally final the woman is not allowed to be with another man for a period of time long enough to ascertain if she is pregnant. The husband is permitted to detain his former wife until this period of time ends (or until the baby is born, if she is pregnant).

Under Shari'ah, a father is the natural guardian of his children and their property, and if a father cannot accept this responsibility custody is awarded to the closest male relative of the father. The Shari'ah allows a mother to maintain custody of her children until they reach the age of custodial transfer (usually between 7-9 years) ONLY IF she meets all the requirements of a female guardian. In some cases a mother's visitation after this time is allowed only with written permission from the father.

In addition to the above matters, what about other family related issues found within the Shari'ah, like Female Circumcision, pre-arranged child marriages, temporary marriages, polygamy, property rights, death penalties (or stoning of women) for marital offences? How will these varied traditions fit with the expectations of our modern society and our laws? I am skeptical at this time that the inclusion of even some elements of the Shari’ah can successfully be good for women living in Canada.

The Noble Qur'an and Hadith provide the basis of tradition and direction found within the Shari'ah and it is defined by many schools of thought throughout Islam in differing ways. But it is not a modern law (I am sure some would argue this is the point) and it can not be made inclusive, equitable or gender neutral by it’s interpretation. Therefore it is not appropriate to inflict upon Canadian citizens, Muslim or not. We need to protect the rights of Canadians, not allow our system to bring them harm through discrimination, gender based persecution or obsolete religious laws.

Premier Dalton McGuinty says the "the rights of women will not be compromised" if Ontario becomes the first western jurisdiction to allow the Shari’ah in settling civil and marital disputes.

My question, if he honestly believes this, is simply "How?"

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

What Lies Beneath

"This city has been destroyed, completely destroyed."
- W. J. Riley, New Orleans Police Official

I have avoided the topic of New Orleans because I have been uncomfortable with the situation. It’s not the actual storm damage that has shocked me, but rather how quickly New Orleans, a major american city, descended into the depths of hell. People, instead of coming together to help each other face the crisis, turned against each other. In a time of severe tribulation society broke down and we became our own worst enemies. I’m not sure how to react to that.

People shooting rescuers, raping children, looting, setting fires, killing... killing babies! The disabled and elderly dying in their wheelchairs, Doctors watching patients dying within meters of equipment that could normally save their lives...

It’s a nightmare of biblically epic proportions.

All the things we take for granted – clean water, food supplies, shelter, sanitation, civil order, police and fire departments, protection of property and self, communication, transportation, electricity, hospitals, burying your dead... it’s all gone. Like Pompeii, nature has laid waste to New Orleans.

I have problems wrapping my head around the obscene monstrosity of it all – I mean, do you know what it means to lose New Orleans?

My fear is that the worst has yet to come. They say there are thousands of bloated, decomposing bodies in the water. Thousands! They say it will take months to drain the water. Months! No one knows how long all the repairs will actually take, although I have heard estimates of a year or more and Bill Clinton suggested creating job incentives for all the people who have been forced to relocate. Bush said "recovery is going to take years." Years!

Questions swim in my head. Mostly all begin with "Why."

Like, why has it taken so very long for aid to come to people who live in one of richest countries in the world? Why didn’t some people leave (socio-economic arguments aside here, some people chose to stay). And why did the government abandon those who couldn’t leave themselves – like the poor and the people in the hospitals? Why are these people still there even now?

Why, in a city famed for its tolerance, inclusion and community, did the people so easily turn against each other?

What does that say about all of us that share the same western culture? Do we know who we are? Did we know who New Orleans was? Do we know what we would do, faced with the same forces of destruction? Are we sure?

Sure they will rebuild and fix New Orleans, eventually, and it may even be the promised new and improved version of itself. But it will forever be a changed city, there’s no way to avoid that. We will all be changed.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Who do you love?

Tell someone you love them.

A simple challenge? Telling someone you love them can be a daunting prospect; both the hardest and the easiest thing to say.

Many of us find it difficult to tell those we care for exactly how we feel about them. We have all sorts of excuses and reasons why not to do it, we think we have a lifetime of chances to say it or we think that our love is implied by our actions (which often it is). It's not reflective of the measure of our love, it's just not easy for everyone. Telling your father, your brother, or your best friend that you love them might seem a little awkward, but the satisfaction of having done so is very rewarding.

So that's my challenge: Think about someone who has come to mean a lot to you. Pick up the phone, write a heartfelt note or visit, but tell them what they mean to you. For no reason other than you do love them and you would want them to know that if anything ever happened.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Happy Birthday Alberta!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Better than Flowers anyday!

Duncan made me this bear today - he picked him out, stuffed him, fluffed him, dressed him and named him, all just for me! Allow me to introduce you to Iggy, the Calgary Flames Bear. He's beary cute!

Why you don't play with toy guns...

So, having just returned from our morning outing I am sitting at the computer checking my email when I hear the obvious sounds of the Police helicopter directly above our home, which isn't uncommon in our neighbourhood, but somewhat odd for being in the middle of the day. I finish doing my email with a vague awareness that the helo is still circling above.

I like helicopters, so I am thinking to myself that I am going to go outside and watch it for a while, as soon as I take some stuff up to my bedroom. A cursory glance out of my window reveals an EPS tactical weapons member with an assault rifle standing OUTSIDE OF MY HOUSE. Well, at least he isn't hiding behind something. That's a good sign.

This brings me downstairs quicker than I anticpated, and while Duncan and I assess the situation (there are now police everywhere) I realize that it is a few minutes to early dismissal at my daughter's school, 30 feet away. Regardless of what is going on, I have to go and get her - there's no way I'm letting her walk through this alone.

All in all it turns out to be relatively harmless - my neighbours thought it would be cool to dress up in black clothing and walk around with ominous looking black fake guns right beside an elementary school. To be fair, I think they were making a home movie or maybe even working on a project, but still, not the smartest move...