Saturday, December 31, 2005

Auld Lang Syne!

This was the year I turned 33 years old, and it was a fun year (which was especially nice after last year!) This year we traveled lots of places, including: Banff in May (we stayed at the Banff Centre for the Arts); Devon in July (we visited the Kurimoto Japanese Gardens); Niagara Falls in July (it was 43 degrees Celsius!); Toronto in July (we celebrated our first wedding anniversary in the revolving restaurant in the CN Tower); Lake Louise and Bankhead in September (The Rocky Mountains - we also visited Banff, Cochrane and Calgary); Lethbridge in December (we enjoyed the coulees and the long train bridge); Elk Island National Park in December (Buffalo!); and now we end the New Year celebrating with friends at the "Estate" in Cochrane Alberta.

NEW HANGOUT: Second Cup or Jungle Jims (WEM)

BEST GIFTS: This year we were really happy to have Duncan’s Dad and my Mom with us to on Christmas morning for gift opening and breakfast. I think everyone was really happy with what Santa brought them but I must have been really good cause I think I got spoiled! Among my booty this year I got jewelry, a Kodak printer for my camera (and camera accessories), a Harry Potter replica/collectors wand, a HUGE suitcase for our upcoming trip to Las Vegas, The March of the Penguins (movie), books (including Michael Moore’s Will They Ever Trust us Again), a gorgeous Oak and Marble cheese serving display, and chocolates. Also, I am excited about reading the books I got for Duncan (The Dark Lord: Rise of Darth Vader, Rescuing Canada’s Right, Team of Rivals and the Secret Mulroney Tapes).

FAVORITE SONG: The Revenge of the Sith and Harry Potter Soundtracks (and anything my son plays on his flute).

BEST BOOK READ: I really enjoyed Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and both the Labyrinth and Revenge of the Sith. It might be worth noting that I also started an online Book Club this year!

NEW HOBBY: Scrap booking and Photography

BEST MOVIE: Kingdom of Heaven, Revenge of the Sith (first 12:01am showing and several times thereafter), Dukes of Hazzard, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (twice), Walk the Line, Munich

BEST DVD: Revenge of the Sith (and it’s documentary)!

BEST VIDEO GAME: Sid Meier’s Civilization 4!

BIGGEST CHANGE: Wesley went to Junior High this year and I am going on a doctor mandated Cholesterol Free diet starting Jan 1st. Yikes, that’s tomorrow!

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: This year was pretty good and seemed to fly by so any challenges were minor and easily faced.

BIGGEST BLESSING OF THE YEAR: Duncan and I were asked to stand as members of Brett and Beatrice’s wedding party when they take their vows in 2006. We are excited and honoured to support them in their love and commitment to each other!

MOST STIRRING POLITICAL ISSUE: As I have been contracted to work on a Provincial Leadership Campaign I have been focusing on leadership politics (which are very interesting). I have been avoiding federal politics all together!

LOOKING FORWARD TO: Our trip to Las Vegas, and a happy, healthy and prosperous new year for all!

PREDICTIONS FOR 2006: Liberals will win again.

LOOKING BACK: 2004 and 2003

I wish you all the best for a happy, safe and prosperous 2006!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Where the Deer and the Buffalo play...

Duncan and I spent yesterday exploring in Elk Island National Park. The Park is considered to be the best example of the boreal mixed wood (aspen, birch and conifer) forests of the Canadian plains, but is also dominated by lichen and sedge grass meadows. It is populated by Plains Bison, Woods Bison, Elk, Moose, Deer, Beavers, Coyotes, Fox, many birds and numerous smaller animals. We were lucky enough to see a Wood Bison (see pic above), Elk and White Tail Deer, and we enjoyed quite the treat while we were hiking the Beaver Pond Trail (as the sun was setting) as several coyotes began to sing through the park all around us - it was beautiful, haunting, moving. An excellent day trip less than an hour from Edmonton, we will have to go again in the warmer months!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas Tree 2005

Christmas Tree 2005
Originally uploaded by Allie Wojtaszek.
Each year our Christmas Tree is built with ornaments and decorations that have a special significance to each person in our family, beginning with my first Snow White ornament from 1972 and encorporating ornaments from both mine and Duncan's extended families. Visitors often marvel at our tree as they search it's branches to see what they can find and as such this year I thought I would catalogue some of the more popular or meaningful items.

You can visit my Flickr page to see the rest of the ornaments. Don't forget to click on each image so that you will be able to read all of the notes attached to the pictures (my first attempt with notes in Flickr)!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Boxing Day

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Morning has come and gone

Our family Christmas Breakfast

Duncan woke me up at 04 double early this morning and wasn't able to go back to sleep, so we snuggled in bed until 6:00am when I finally went to wake kids up (we were out late last night seeing Narnia). Santa was very good to all of us this morning but I think the best part was having Duncan's Dad and My Mom here to share it with us.

You can see our pictures of Christmas morning here.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

All Things Christmas

Christmas is a very special time of year for me, a time that has always been about friends and family. It's a time that love runs through, like a river that binds us all together, and families find a certain peace in celebrating each and every member.

From our family to yours on this Christmas Eve, Merry Christmas. Our best wishes to you and yours for the happiest of the season and a healthy and prosperous new year!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas Comes In...

1 Day, 0 hours, 16 minutes and 9 seconds... For those counting...

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Sad Thing is He Can't Even Blame it on the Champagne!

By far my favourite Christmas card this year...

Ready or not, Christmas is in full swing at the Wojtaszek residence this year. Wesley's Band Concert was on Thursday and we had our annual Hot Chocolate Party on Saturday which was fun and went well (except I have decided if we mean to continue this tradition I will need a larger living room!) and on Sunday we had dinner at a friends and helped decorate his tree while we all enjoyed egg nog and a lovely fire. Despite the warming weather it is managing to feel a bit like Christmas time.

Not that I am counting, but as of now, Christmas is 5 days, 10 hours, 35 minutes and 18 seconds away!

Friday, December 16, 2005

John Spencer has left the building

It makes me sad to be blogging tonight about the death of John Spencer from a heart attack at age 58. Spencer played one of my favourite characters on the NBC Show The West Wing, Leo McGarry. It is a role that won him both an Emmy and a Golden Globe nomination, and one I thought he shone in. He will be sorely missed.

Die Patriot Act, Die!

While Bush (among others) has lobbied relentlessly to make the expiring USA Patriot Act a permanent statute, today the Senate stalled the attempt by not allowing it to pass.

No doubt there will be some political wrangling in the next couple of weeks and likely another vote, but if a deal isn't reached, the 16 Patriot Act provisions will expire on the 31st of December.

The death of the Patriot Act will allow for the development of a more rational and practical law, one not built, passed and enacted in fear. The american people would do well to consider that rights and liberties given up so easily are the hardest to reclaim - especially when they are lost to the increasing powers of government.

The Patriot Act should never be allowed to become permanent. Bring on Dec 31.

In the Right Place at the Right Time

"I prayed that someone would catch him
and save his life."

- Tracinda Foxe

I'll admit it, I really don't believe in coincidence; I believe that our paths go towards opportunities that we either choose to seize or pass by and that those opportunities shape our collective futures and provide reasons for us being here.

So begins the amazing story of Tracinda Foxe and her baby Eric, who were trapped in their burning third floor apartment by bars across their windows. Trying to stay away from the flames and smoke, Tracinda was holding Eric out of the window so that he could breathe - but as the fire raged their situation became more dire.

As Tracinda couldn't see if their was anyone on the ground waiting to catch her son she had held on to him until she could no longer chance it - and then with a prayer (and what I imagine was a whole lot of faith), she threw Eric from the burning apartment to the ground below.

Luckily, Felix Vazquez (a baseball catcher and former lifeguard) was there and was able to run and catch Eric as well as give him mouth to mouth to start him breathing again. Firefighters were soon able to break down the door to rescue Tracinda, and everyone is recovering nicely (and Tracinda has asked Felix to be Eric's godfather).

The right person in the right place at exactly the right time. If that's not destiny, I don't know what is, but I'm happy with believing it is. Eric's family says "the rescue is the only holiday gift they'll need, and they couldn't ask for more." Amen to that.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Hits Keep on Rolling

Thanks to my blog readers today I surpassed 90,000 visitors! (cue fanfare)

I am going to have some sort of real time online blog party for turning over to 100,000... so stay tuned cause I'd love to see you all there!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Halo Two

So Mr. Harper wants to revive the Airborne. A "new" 650 member strong battalion which, in his words, would have "parachute training capability."

My first thought: There's a valid reason why the Airborne was disbanded. It's not like we just ran out of people or someone forgot to fund it. The Airborne was a national and international disgrace; being disbanded was a punishment and an apology to the rest of the world. There should be careful consideration into it's "revival" and the implications thereof.

Second thought: I hope Mr Harper knows that "Airborne" units are actually jump ready, and that his "new" unit would have more than just the capacity to train with a parachute!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Just a thought.

"Democracy is not the law of the majority but the protection of the minority."
- Albert Camus

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Northern Lights are Gorgeous

Duncan and I have just got in from watching the Northern Lights here in Edmonton. They have been really active recently, but tonight there was brilliant greens and vibrant pinks lighting up the sky, and they were moving so fast that they truly were dancing.

I have always loved the Northern Lights - as I grew up on Vancouver Island I only saw them as a faded shadow and infrequently at that. Now, being so much more north I have delighted in their magnificance over the past 10 years.

Sadly, the Earth's north magnetic pole is drifting away from North America (towards Siberia) at such a rate that scientists say North America might lose its spectacular Northern Lights sometime in the next 50 years (Good news for Europe though). If I manage to live another 50 years I will be sad to see them go.

My secret desire right now: The Northern Lights Festival 2006 in Tromsø, Norway in January.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Love is a burning thing

I understand moments of perfect happiness need to be taken in small doses in order for the balance of the universe to remain intact, but I had a lot of them today - possibly even more than my fair share! Days like this are the kind that warm you from the inside and cause you to walk around with a big smile on your face. The kind of day you never want to end but your content to fall asleep in it's bliss. I really had an awesome day today; my life is more wonderful than I could ever have imagined it would be and the world is a perfect place.

Among other things we did today, Duncan and I Walked The Line. The story touches us more than most would guess, and the film was amazing, the pefect film for a perfect night!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Today is a special kind of Anniversary

Five years!

They say time flies when you're having fun - and these past five years have certainly flown by. In many regards I feel like we are still just starting out, still discovering the world together side by side - and we are of course, with the whole world and a lifetime ahead of us. I love him more now then ever before, for every reason in the world, and for no reason in particular and with all of my heart and soul I love him. He is my bestest friend and I cherish him.

Happy Anniversary Duncan!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Love Never Dies

25 years ago I was just a little girl, 8 years old or so, and my life only moderatly touched by the Beatles phenomenon that would come to grip my formative years and subsequent adult life.

Like so many others I grew up sharing (and singing along to) the music of the Beatles together with my best friends - usually while we sat around in the sunshine wondering philosophically-outloud about both the complexities and simpleness of life. The lyrics never failed to touch us, to move us to tears or laughter - and no one was embarrassed to coon along with the Beatles.

I was too young to understand that day when I watched on the news about a man named John Lennon who had been gunned down and killed in cold blood how much this person would influence and impact my life, my relationships and my love of music. I will never know what he could have done if he had been allowed to live that day - but I do know that my world will never be devoid of John Lennon and he will continue to be shared and not forgotten.

To lead a better life
I need my love to be here...

Here, making each day of the year
Changing my life with a wave of her hand
Nobody can deny that there's something there

There, running my hands through her hair
Both of us thinking how good it can be
Someone is speaking but she doesn't know he's there

I want her everywhere and if she's beside me
I know I need never care
But to love her is to need her everywhere
Knowing that love is to share

Each one believing that love never dies
Watching her eyes and hoping I'm always there
To be there and everywhere
Here, there and everywhere

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Catching up...

We went to Lethbridge and it was very pretty - Duncan had some business to do but we also had a chance to see some of the sites and visit with our friends that moved down there last July. It was an enjoyable weekend, despite the very long drive from Edmonton to Lethbridge.

Things in Lethbridge are looooong. Here are some examples:

Coulees are long ravine like valleys like run along river beds.

The longest train bridge is in Lethbridge.

The university of Lethbridge has the longest hallway.

More Pictures HERE

We also decorated and put up the Christmas Tree!

With the christmas season already upon us we are trying to give the world our best impression of being ready! Ready or not, our first Christmas party is tonight.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

It was just like any other day...

Flowers usually make a girl happy but the 14 white roses on my desk this morning had a sobering presence.

Just like our day this morning, as we all climbed out of bed and braced ourselves for the cold December day, that day 16 years ago began just like any other day.

But it didn’t end that way. It ended in hatred and gunfire and broken dreams.

Remembering the December 6, 1989 incident in which 14 young women were gunned down at Montreal's l'École Polytechnique isn’t enough. We have to change the attitudes that put people in danger and keep them at risk, we have to appreciate the fragility of life and strive to protect it, and we have to learn how to ask for, and give, help when it’s needed. For ourselves and everyone we love, every day.

Because every day starts the exact same way.

Monday, December 05, 2005

I was here...

I rushed home from work today (trying to make it home in time for a meeting via conference call) crammed into a bus full of people which in turn was crammed into a gridlocked highway full of yet more people, and somehow I felt oddly alone in amongst them all... lost even. I fought the urge to reach out and scrawl in big letters "I WAS HERE" in the condensation on the window pane.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Welcome to Lethbridge!

According to the city's webpage, Lethbridge Alberta is one of the warmest & sunniest cities in all of Canada. That's interesting to ponder as I sit here enjoying the -16 degree celsius weather!

But I must admit I have been taken with the landscape; with the coulees and the rolling hills, the fields of long golden grass with their slight dusting of snow, Lethbridge has a unique allure. I am excited about taking some pictures tomorrow... I really do live in an amazing and beautiful province!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

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