Saturday, July 30, 2005

Look Sir... Droids!

Yes, he really did hold up his Onion Ring and say "Look Sir, Droids!" Actually, he held up each and every Onion Ring and said it. That's why I love him so...

Friday, July 29, 2005

I'll Relax When Discovery's Crew Is Safely Back Home.

"And this is the best that you cou - that the government, the *U.S. government* could come up with? I mean, you're NASA for crying out loud, you put a man on the moon, you're geniuses! You're the guys that are thinking shit up! I'm sure you got a team of men sitting around somewhere right now just thinking shit up!"
-Harry Stamper, Armageddon

NASA, who undoubtedly employ some of the smartest people in the world, spent the past two years convincing themselves they had fixed the falling debris problem that subsequently led to the Columbia disaster. John Shannon (shuttle flight operations and integration manager)said that NASA now has no idea what is causing this problem, or how to fix it, adding that he has "200 analysts working on it".

TWO HUNDRED really smart people and they have NO idea how to fix it.

Here's an idea. Instead of having Boeing continuously upgrade the shuttles (and I use the plural overly aware it now means only two) in an attempt to extend their life, face the fact that the shuttles are obsolete. Space travel is a risky enough business without purposely pushing your luck; relying on luck is not a comforting prospect when you consider that it was ONLY luck that debris that hit the Discovery during it's ascent did not (as NASA now says) seriously damage the heat tiles, as happened with Columbia in 2003.

I think (IMHO) NASA needs to consider either bumping up plans for the new Crew Exploration Vehicle or join efforts with Europe and Russia in producing the Kliper. Certainly before the advent of the planned Moon visits in 2008 they should have a reliable way of reaching the International Space Station.

I also think they should consider parking Discovery at the ISS until they are sure it is safe to bring her home.

Thursday, July 28, 2005


NHL Schedule was just released!

I am finding that the excitement is building inside of me faster then I even imagined possible... Even though I thought I might have hurt feelings, or harbour some form of resentment, it's gone - all of it. I couldn't try to make myself feel it, there is just excitement and passion in it's place. Hockey's back and the world seems more like it should.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

I have a bad feeling about this...

Or maybe it's just a bit of shuttle paranoia that plagues my generation...

But it does seem to me that this particular launch of the shuttle Discovery (delayed several times since Jul 13) has had more than it's fair share of issues and NASA's apparent willingness to overlook a malfunctioning hydrogen level sensor (a failure of the sensor can result in premature shutdown of the orbiter's engines during the shuttle's ascent, and the space agency's decision to press ahead with the launch with just three of the four sensors working is a deviation from a rule instituted after the 1986 Challenger explosion.) troubles me somewhat. I am left to trust that many people much smarter than me know what they are doing.

Regardless, they will launch this morning. They carry with them my childhood hopes and dreams. My best wishes for a safe journey are with them.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Candy Doesn't Have to Have a Point...

Many years ago, when I was a young girl in grade four (or maybe three) I remember wandering casually through my school library looking for a book. Any book, really, I read everything I could at that age, so I was just waiting for something to catch my eye. I remember seeing a book up on a higher shelf and reached up to pull it down so I could see the front cover. It was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

For some reason, it's the only book I remember finding in the school library, even though I must have read hundreds over many, many visits. It fascinated my young mind and my imagination played with it long after I had finished it, and the next book as well.

Mike Teavee: Why is everything here completely pointless?
Charlie Bucket: Candy doesn't have to have a point.
That's why it's candy.

A little while ago I bought Wesley and Raven the book and they both enjoyed it as much as I had. It only took Wes a few hours to read Raven would not put it down until it was done. Today, I took Wesley (and 7 of his friends) to see the new movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (for Wesley's birthday party). It was Fabulous. Everything that is childhood is wrapped up in this movie. I laughed, I cried, but mostly I revelled in the fact that I was sharing this story with my children so many years after I had read it myself. It was delightful (I love the happily-ever-after ending).

Oh, and I got to see the Harry Potter trailer on the big screen. I can't wait for that!!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Visite En Images Point De Rendez-vous (Toronto Visit, In Pictures)

When we landed in Toronto (at 630am) it was already 26 degrees celsius. The very first place we visited (after dropping our bags off at our Inn) was the Casa Loma. This is a shot looking down at the gardens from the open tower, after we had climbed many narrow spiral staircases to get up there (and Duncan hanging onto to the back of my pants as I leaned over to take it).

Next we walked through the University of Toronto to Queens Park in order to have a tour of the Ontario Legislative Buildings (I thought their chamber was beautiful, much more ornate than ours) and then walked down Yonge Street (longest street in the world at 1900 km) to eat at a delightful little Ethopian restuarant. By the time we had finished walking around the Royal Ontario Museum we were exhausted (as we had flown all night long) and went back to our Inn to grab a nap before spending the night up the CN Tower. We ate in the revolving restuarant (great way to see the city) and went all the way up to the Skypod.

We spent most of the next day at the amazing Niagara Falls. The mercury soared this day to an unbelievable 43 degrees (hottest place I'd ever been), so the mist from the falls was very refreshing and we didn't stay wet for long. We travelled to and from Niagara in the comfort of a black stretch limo with our own personal tour guide and free ice wine. The day had been so hot that on the way back to Toronto we fell asleep in each others arms across the wide seat of the Limo. We had the Limo driver drop us off at the Art Gallery of Ontario, where I may (or may not) have become too personal with Monet.

When I was walking on the boardwalk along the lakeshore (Lake Ontario) I was impressed at the amount of culture I saw. These people were set up painting the harbour scene in front of them, which I enjoyed watching for a while. There were also free concerts, markets and individual entertainers all the time.

This is... well, I am not sure what this is, actually, except to say that it is a piece of art similiar to others you find along the boardwalk and streets in Toronto. One side had a waterfall cascading back into the lake.

Duncan was on conference for a couple of days during our stay, and while he was otherwise entertained I enjoyed a boat tour through the Toronto Islands. For $10.28 it was a very enjoyable way to spend an hour learning about Toronto (which is derived from a Huron word for "meeting place") and the view of the skyline was amazing. It's even prettier at night.

So here is that view of the Toronto skyline I took from the Islands. This city is HUGE, and all of the buildings are very interesting in their own way. There is a (greenish) TD Building if you look closer (click on the image) that is almost all made up of corners. It was built this was after they surveyed their employees and found they all wanted a corner office!

Found this at the base of the CN Tower during my walk abouts, a little art piece depicting the Salmon Run (salmon swim up river in order to spawn) so critical to Canadians. I also found atleast 20 people trying to sell me tickets to the Blue Jays game that night, cheaper than box office price, they assured me! Duncan and I had already decided not to go - our hotel (by that time) was on Yonge Street, which turns into one large party at night and provides many things for two young people in the big city to do.

The new Toronto City Hall is an amazing building. The person who designed this initially won a prize of 1 million dollars for the design. There are no windows on the north sides of either building at all. Something about those politicians being kept in the dark!

The gardens outside of City Hall are also very impressive. A nice place to stop (if one can stop anywheres for too long in a heat wave). People skate on this in the winter but aren't allowed in it during the warmer months. And it was pretty warm, given that our average day temp was between 35 - 43 and it never got cooler than 26 degrees at night.

I could not stand here in front of this building without hearing the theme song from Hockey Night in Canada run lovingly through my head. I had to see it before they destroy it - they are turning it into a Superstore, of all things. The Horror.

What visit anywhere would be complete without a trip to Hooters? Toronto has three of them, we found this one downtown by the tower. Duncan really adores Hooters and it's usually a fun place to go (and they have the best wings ever).

Le Temple de la Renommee du Hockey. Or also known as "Allie Church." I have often said that God sent me to live in Canada only because of hockey, it really is like a religion here. So this is where I spent my sunday morning, keeping the sabbath day holy. This is a fabulous depiction of kids on their bench, watching for their team to score. I love the look on their faces, the excitement and anticipation that brings simple joy. I've missed hockey so much!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Hello, Is This Thing On?

Hmmmm. I haven't blogged in sometime, which is funny, cause I have a lot to blog about. And funnier still is Duncan, who usually blogs only intermittently, but for whatever reason has blogged like three times TODAY. Makes me feel like a lazy blogger.

For now, this is all I have to say:

"TK-421, why aren't you at your post?"

Monday, July 11, 2005

Kurimoto Japanese Garden

Today Duncan and I were given the opportunity to share the wonderful experience of the University of Alberta Devonian Botanic Gardens, courtesy of our friend Alan. All of the grounds are beautiful but my Favourite was the Kurimoto Japanese Garden, named after Dr. Yuichi Kurimoto (a U of A graduate in 1930).

The garden is laid out in a kaiyou style (strolling garden) and meticulous care has been taken in its presentation; everything is purposeful, meaningful, beautiful - rocks, flowers, trees, ponds, waterfalls and five authentic stone lanterns that were hand carved from solid granite.

I loved every moment I was there - and I could have spent the rest of the day there. The soothing sounds (birds, waterfall, stream, bells), the warm sunshine, the wonderful smells (flowers, grass) and the visual beauty (arranged flowers, rocks and trimmed trees) all conspired to relax me, excite me and make me feel at peace.

Friday, July 08, 2005

There'll Always be an England...

And England shall be free...

Thursday, July 07, 2005

One year ago today...

Duncan, with all my heart I take you to be my husband. I will love you through all times, through the good and the bad, the joy and the sorrow. I will try to be understanding, and to trust in you completely. I will make you a part of me, and in turn, become a part of you. Together we will face all of life's experiences and share one another's dreams and goals.

Our Wedding Vows

I wanna make you smile, whenever you're sad
Carry you around when your arthritis is bad
All I wanna do is grow old with you

Outside of the Legislature

I'll get your medicine when your tummy aches
Build you a fire if the furnace breaks
Oh it could be so nice, growing old with you

Kissing on William Aberharts desk...

I'll miss you, I'll Kiss you
Give you my coat when you are cold

Removing the garter

I'll Need you, I'll Feed you
Even let ya hold the remote control

Hold my hand... forever

So let me do the dishes in our kitchen sink
Put you to bed if you've had too much to drink
I could be the man who grows old with you
I wanna grow old with you

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

A Rainy Afternoon

"While I thought that I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die."
~Leonardo Da Vinci

"The day which we fear as our last is but the birthday of eternity."

"Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation. For they are us, our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life."
~Albert Einstein

Spousal Support or an Excuse to Remain Dependant Forever?

There was a story today in the news that disturbs me.

When my first husband left, he left me with all the bills (mysteriously all in my name), old debts, back rent and daycare to pay. One of my proudest moments was when I had, while still going to school, finally paid off all of the bills. There was no whining. I didn't mooch, or leech or beg him to support me. I had pride that I did it all myself. With three jobs to manage the rent and bills I provided well enough for my children (at the time my ex paid only 200.00 a month for child support) and was able to increase our standard of living, even managing to save a little in the process. The most important thing was that no one else could take any credit for my hard won successes.

So this idea that people (mostly women) can/should continue to pursue their ex-spouses as a lifetime method of funding appalls me. What is this saying about us? That we can't let go, can't do it on our own, can't survive without someone there to support us? How can a woman acheive financial freedom when all she is doing is looking towards another person everytime they think they need money? There are other sources of money available people! Set yourself apart; get a job or go back to school. Don't allow yourself to be defined by leechdom, your independance and pride in yourself is what is at risk here. I know it might seem daunting (and yes, it is hard) but in the end it is very much worth it. Especially when you are reaching your goals and your acheivements are your very own. Why would you let anyone else (especially an ex-spouse) take credit for that?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Belated Canada Day Report

I had one of the best Canada Day's of my life this past July 1st. I don't mean to be tardy posting about it - it's more that Canada Day didn't end for me until July 2nd and then the weekend was so fabulous I didn't have time to sit down and blog.

For us Canada's 138th birthday began with a lovely sleep in and special breakfast (eggs benedict, a la Duncan). Then we joined the rest of our 32,805,041 fellow Canadians in partying across our 10 provinces and 3 territories. This entailed the four of us meeting up with Brett and Beatrice to rock along with Randy Bachman (the first concert I ever went to was BTO) and the Bare Naked Ladies, who were HOT. We had been lucky enough to get floor passes so there was much Canadian flag draped dancing and singing to be done by myself and Duncan. It was harder for Wesley and Raven to see but they did their best and still danced. One of the best parts for me was watching Wesley sing along with us to "If I had a Million Dollars" at the end of the concert. It occurred to me that our generations enjoy the same music (but that's a blog topic all in itself).

We ended the night with dinner, a spectacular fireworks show over the Legislature Buildings and some rowdiness along Whyte Avenue before getting a bus home to our beds. The kids left for Calgary the next morning so Duncan and I spent the weekend doing what all other newly weds do when they are left alone to entertain themselves... you know, gardening!

Monday, July 04, 2005

Together. Forever and Always.

"Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven"
- Matthew 16:19

The Avery's, newly sealed.

My oldest friend Dawn is a Mormon, and always has been, even after both her parents left the church. Dawn always dreamed of the day when her and her husband, and their children could be sealed in the Temple. For Mormon's the ritual of "sealing" is understood as the establishment of a bond of legitimacy, joining together children and parents in a relationship that is to endure forever. This special type of ceremony, which can only be preformed in an LDS Temple dedicated to God, is referred to as "eternal marriage" or "celestial marriage."

Dawn and her family had to achieve many important milestones to win the right to travel to the Temple to be sealed (receiving their Temple recommend). This past weekend they drove from Vancouver Island all the way to Cardston Alberta, the closest Temple. Once at the Temple they had many preparatory ordinances (ceremonial washing and anointing before donning sacred temple robes, religious instruction, Temple Endowment and recieving the divine presence) before they were sealed together in eternal marriage.

I am happy that Dawn was finally able to achieve her dream, and that it was as meaningful to her as she had always hoped, her exchange of vows in the celestial room, sealed for all eternity to her husband. And with it, she, and her family, have achieved the goal of every worthy Mormon. Congrats.