Sunday, December 31, 2006

Auld Lang Syne!

Our Family in Disneyland

This was the year I turned 34 years old – getting old, next year is the big 35! 2006 has been a fabulous year for me and my family.

NEW HANGOUT: Starbucks (We’re hopelessly hooked)

BEST GIFT: Disneyland for Christmas!


NEW HOBBY: Photography!

BEST MOVIE: An Inconvenient Truth


BEST VIDEO GAME: Animal Crossing Wild World

BIGGEST CHANGE: Wesley changed schools this year

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Finding family time among the demands of politics!

New Family Member
! Duncan's step Mom was able to join us from Vietnam this year.

MOST STIRRING POLITICAL ISSUE: I worked very hard on two Leadership Campaigns, Dave Hancock and Ed Stelmach, this entire year.

LOOKING FORWARD TO: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and our Wedding Anniversary which is on 07/07/07 (hopefully the two events will coincide). Also – Order of the Phoenix!

PREDICTIONS FOR 2007: A smoke free Alberta!

LOOKING BACK: 2005 and 2004 and 2003

I wish you all the best for a happy, safe and prosperous 2007!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Why Men Can't Wrap Presents

As I sit here listening to my husband struggling to wrap my gifts in the adjacent room (he mutters a lot under his breath) I read this on Larry Johnsrude's blog. It is perhaps the most hilarious thing I have read in some time, and Duncan is in stitches as I read it out loud to him. Thanks to Larry for a laugh this early Christmas Morn!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas time is for Family

Happy Holidays from the Wojtaszek - Smyth - Campbell Family!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Happy Chanukkah!

Thanks to Cora for inviting us to enjoy their last night of Hanukkah with them - the Latkes were delicious and we had a lot of fun getting a good spin on the dreidels - playing for chocolate money of course!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Disney's California Adventure Park

My Favourite shot of the day...

I think... it was a hard choice, as there are many! We spent all day today, after eating brunch at the House of Blues in Downtown Disney, in Disney's California Adventure - and we had so much fun! California Screamin' might just be my favourite ride (Roller Coaster) - everytime I was on it I had the thoughts that this (speed, wind in the face, happiness, freedom, adrenaline, fun) is what life is really about! Will have to go ride all the rides in Disneyland tomorrow just to make sure!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Disneyland, California

Where Dreams Come True!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Long Beach, California!

First day in California - we went from Anaheim to Long Beach to walk along the water front and visit Hooters, Long Beach. More pictures HERE.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Life Returning to Normal?

Not quite yet... I will still be busy with campaign related stuff until I leave for Disneyland. I haven't even given a first thought to Christmas yet (as some one said to me yesterday "Allie, you're running out of time!") but I am confident I will pull it together. Received a great blog related message in a Christmas card a couple of days ago (thanks Lilly). It said:

"Can't wait until after Dec 2nd for you to resume normal posting. Local Politics make my eyes glaze over - Sorry!!"

Hmmmm... Normal. Not sure I remember yet what normal is!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Kevin Taft Can't Count

"Ed was everyone's compromise second choice" said Liberal Leader Kevin taft. "That's why he won."

Last Totals, before counting the second choice votes had Ed Stelmach in first place - with 482 votes ahead of second place Jim Dinning. Calculating the second choice votes gave 25,813 to Stelmach for a total of 77,577 - keeping him in first place by 22,068.

Here's another number Taft should count - 144,022 Progressive Conservatives came out yesterday to elect a new Leader. How many voted for him in his "Leadership" election?

And who invited Taft to our party anyway?

Nice Guys DO Finish First!

Premier Ed Stelmach

All this week my husband has been asking me "Why can't you just stop working and come to bed?"

This is why.

And it feels good.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

PC Alberta Leadership 2006

Running Total:

With 81 polls reporting:
Jim Dinning — 49,440
Ted Morton — 38,167
Ed Stelmach — 45,890

Total Votes Cast: 133,497

PS. Believe it or not, I am blogging from the ladies washroom - it's the only place I could find with a plug in.

Don't Forget to Vote Today!

When you go to the polling station in your constituency today to vote you will be given a preferential ballot listing three names (Ed Stelmach, Jim Dinning and Ted Morton). You will be asked to rank the two candidates that you prefer by placing a "1" beside your first choice and a "2" beside your second choice.

You can opt to only select one candidate (your ballot will be considered valid), but I wouldn’t recommend it. If your preferred candidate does not make it into the top two after the first count then your second choice will be counted instead; if you have neglected to make a second choice your vote just won’t count, meaning you won’t have an influence on the outcome (if no one candidate gets a clear majority on the first count then second ballot choices will decide the leadership). It’s worth noting they only count the second choice votes of the third place candidate, and not those of the top two.

You can not vote twice for one single candidate. You must make either one or two selections, indicating your choice with a number 1 and 2 respectively. Do not mark a third choice – if you do your ballot may be considered spoiled.

You can still vote even if you didn't vote in the first ballot last Saturday. Buy a $5.00 PC Alberta membership at the Polling Station in your constituency between 9:00am and 7:00pm today.

If you don't know your constituency you can find it using this link.

Duncan Wojtaszek, Debate Commentator

"Stelmach demonstrated a clear ability to listen and be inclusive while he never played down his ideas: a supplemental Alberta pension or money for municipalities were strongly advocated for. Plus both Jim and Ted thought so too - they were agreeing with Ed most of the time."

"All three echoed their same lines. Dr. Morton talking about Ottawa, Mr. Dinning offered broad visions and platitudes, and Ed offering an inclusive and effective government. I'm voting for Ed."

In Edmonton Journal (subscription only).

Saturday, November 25, 2006

People Keep Asking Me...

What I am going to do when this Campaign is over...

I'm Going to Disneyland!

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Scandal of Camera Injustice

This morning I sat at the major intersection of Edmonton's 170th Street and 87th Avenue, watching with some surprise as both red light camera's flashed repeatedly at traffic flowing normally on a green light.

As most people consider they have no options to fight a ticket they recieve in the mail (traffic offences are absolute liability offences - unless you can prove your car was being used without your permission) this really is quite scandulous. Red Light Camera's and Photo Radar bring in millions of dollars every year.

So, a few Edmonton drivers are about to get a notice with a picture and a fine that they will have no choice but to pay - and they'll likely be pretty sure they actually didn't do anything wrong.

Wonder how long this has been happening?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Happy 28th Birthday Duncan!

Another Hooterific Birthday!

OK, the real picture everyone wants to see is here.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

What REALLY Grinds My Gears...

When I can't find the Droids I am looking for...

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Time of Falling Leaves

Who turned Fall on?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Official Call For Nominations

So I am on my way now to the PC Party Office to get my Nomination Package.


Like living in Red Deer

Premier Ralph Klein handed in his letter of resignation today. All sorts of things are going to happen now... and if I thought I didn't have time to blog before this, well... this might be the beggining of a 2.5 month hiatus - but I'd like to blog through the Leadership race so we will see if I can't make some time.

At the Roast last night this was one of the things he said:

"Because the premier can't be seen supporting one team over another, I've had to sit in the stands at the Labour Day Classic and the Battle of Alberta hockey games cheering like an idiot for both teams. It's unnatural. It's like living in Red Deer."
- Ralph Klein


Monday, September 11, 2006

Remembering the day the world cracked open

This little movie made in commemoration by a NY City citizen shows the raw face of what happened 5 years ago today. I remember - as I am sure everyone does - the images burned forever into my soul. I remember exactly how I felt as I watched the second tower fall.

I didn't need to cry and oddly I was not overcome by anger or rage. But the warrior inside of me was awakened, alerted to the new world that I was observing. In my mind I tiptoed to the edge of the world I had known, where a huge crack had just suddenly appeared, and I looked into it knowing that everything had changed. Obviously I was observing an Act of War, something I had been trained to respond to and this instinct felt strong. I thought I was going to have to re-enlist.

I was not a huge fan of the new President but when he said "Freedom was attacked today by a faceless coward," I knew he was right. And when he said "Freedom will be defended," I knew I was ready. I knew if this could happen so close to us that it could happen to us as well. I knew that I would protect whatever world my children, who stood watching the Towers fall with me, lived in.

As circumstances would have it Duncan talked me out of the re-enlistment and as time went by it was evident that would not be required of me. Actually as time went on a lot changed... and as Duncan so eloquently put it... actions taken by the President and his administration forced a change in my feelings and opinions. Enough so that and I must admit I have come to believe, especially with and since the onset of "Operation Iraqi Freedom," that my definition of "Freedom" is different than that of President Bush's.

Freedom. To the very core of my being it means everything. These past five years I have been unsure how to defend it.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Straight, Not Narrow

Hate is NOT a Family Value.

The Meek Are Getting Ready (September 22, 2003)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful Boy

Robert Barrington Leigh 1986-2006

Who can say where the road goes,
Where the day flows?
Only time...

- Enya

A scholarship fund has been established in memory of Robert by the Departments of Mathematics and Physics at the University of Toronto. Donations (payable to the University of Toronto) may be sent to:

Robert Barrington Leigh Scholarship Fund
Office of Advancement
Faculty of Arts and Science
University of Toronto
100 St. George Street, Room 2032
Toronto, ON M5S 3G3

For more information about the scholarship fund please contact John Bland by phone (416-978-3320) or by e-mail (bland @

Friday, August 11, 2006

Because Philosophy Begins in Wonder

Would you reach out your hand to a drowning man if you thought he might pull you in?

Is it better to do the Right Thing for the Wrong Reasons or the Wrong Thing for the Right Reasons?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Waging a War for Talent

Renewing the One Party State today has a post entitled "You'd think Dave would do something."

Reading through the post I came to realize that the post itself was an attack against Ken Chapman and what rights he has to express his opinions freely on his own blog. Well, being a blogger myself, I think Ken's personal blog is Ken's personal blog - where he writes about his own opinions and thoughts like any of us do on our blogs - and he has enough guts to express himself under his own name, therefore actively engaging and encouraging the dialogue that we party members need during this Leadership Race.

To clear up a big misconceptions central in this attack, Ken Chapman is "not on staff" as is suggested – rather Ken is a volunteer with an opinion and a high regard for free speech (he has already clearly expressed on his personal blog that his ideas are NOT the ideas of Dave or of his Campaign. It's a personal blog).

Freedom of speech is both a powerful right and a powerful tool. People are allowed to have a different opinion or point of view than others and I know that Dave Hancock is more than able to develop his own policy that falls well within his own values and convictions regardless of the personal opinions of his volunteers.

I am slightly disturbed/shocked by the suggestion that Dave should muzzle his volunteers/supporters or even dictate what their publicly expressed opinions should or could be. What kind of leader would that make Dave Hancock? What kind of party would that result in?

The fact of the matter is that Dave Hancock IS an inclusive guy. He believes that EVERY Albertan has a valuable place in the diverse future of OUR province. He has an amazing sense of integrity and everything he does, including his very real loyalties, comes from his own strong moral code of values. That's the kind of guy Dave Hancock is.

Yes Dave is a leader for everyone, even Ken Chapman.

If the other candidates are allowing someone else to create their policies for them - then shame on them. Dave Hancock has an honest vision for the Alberta he wants to live in and it is from that passion that his policy comes - not from anyone else.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Out, Out Damn Spot!

Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention is considered the universal minimum standard of treatment for civilian detainees in wartime. It requires that people be treated "humanely," barring "violence to life and person," (including murder, mutilation, cruel treatment, torture), "outrages upon personal dignity" (humiliating and degrading treatment) and sentencing/execution by courts that fail to provide "all the judicial guarantees … recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples."

The US Supreme Court recently determined (Hamdan v. Rumsfeld June 29) the Bush Administration's policy of not honoring the Geneva Convention (US ratified 1949) was illegal and that even prisoners in the "War on Terror" are entitled to the protections allowed in the Geneva Convention.

According to reports in the Washington Post, US officials have since responded in three ways:

  1. Asked Congress to pass legislation blocking the prisoners' right to sue for the enforcement of those protections

  2. Drafted legislation allowing the consideration of intelligence gathering needs during interrogations, in place of an absolute human rights standard

  3. Formulated amendments to the War Crimes Act that would retroactively protect policymakers, political appointees, CIA officers and former Military Personnel from criminal charges (for authorizing or administering any humiliating or degrading treatment of prisoners) and eliminate the risk of prosecution

The Bush Administration is obviously trying to cover it's collective ass. Makes me wonder what else they have done that they are so worried about.

Read more here:
Bush officials draft law to protect administration from war crimes (Washington Post)

War Crimes Act Changes Would Reduce Threat Of Prosecution (Globe and Mail)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Just a Thought Away

Chris giving Wes a "Horsey Ride"


A poem I saw somewhere had the lines "It's memory's lovely garden that soothes the hurting heart." I guess it's true - two years after my brother's death I smile more at the memories and thoughts of him than not.

In some respects it is hard to believe it has been two years without him. And in others it seems like a lifetime.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Blog Catch Up - Would you like Fries with that?

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
See all the Arlington Pictures here

Friday, July 28, 2006

If Open Participation belies Arrogance so be it

Gary McPherson, rumoured to be considering his own bid in the upcoming PC Leadership Race, seems to have stirred a bit of controversy over his suggestion in the Edmonton Journal (Monday, July 24, 2006) that people consider participating in the PC Leadership Race and not miss the opportunity to become involved in this particular exercise of our democratic process.

McPherson wrote "The way the Alberta Progressive Conservative Association conducts its leadership competition makes it one of the most democratic and participatory political processes available anywhere on Earth. It opens the door for all Albertans including those as young as 16 years of age to participate in the process, no matter what their specific interests or political leanings. The opportunity presented by the PC leadership race is ... an opportunity for Albertans of all political persuasions to participate in this important and historic leadership vote..."

McPherson’s letter seemed to create a "flurry" of objections, but as I know quite well all three of the people who responded in Letter’s to the Editor I don’t see this as being representative (or even anything resembling a coincidence) of any general opinion. But it is interesting the rhetoric that was employed.

My favourite was comments from our beloved Daveberta in the Edmonton Journal (Thursday, July 27, 2006) where he wrote "I am insulted by Gary McPherson's […] suggestion that the Alberta PC leadership race is just as important as an actual democratic election highlights the arrogance of the current governing party. I, for one, am going to keep my $5 and wait for the next election to vote for my choice."

I must admit I picked on Dave because I like him and I know he can take it. Dave, bless his heart, could not bring himself to be objective on this topic even if the lives of an entire litter of kittens depended on it (which thankfully, it doesn’t). Dave is not just a card carrying Liberal Party Member - he is a liberal activist, a liberal campaign worker, a past liberal constituency president and someone who lays awake at night plotting ways to sabotage the entire PC Party of Alberta so he can bring the Liberals and Kevin Taft to rule in Alberta. That's why we love him.

Today new blogger Ken Chapman (welcome to the Blogosphere Ken!) asks "Where is the Arrogance?"

I would have to agree with Ken - people like Dave are never going to consider this opportunity - but that doesn't mean it isn't there and available to them.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Oberg's back!

Caucus has decided to allow Tory leadership candidate Dr. Lyle Oberg back into the party fold, skeletons and all. Thoughts?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Breaching the Barriers of Adolescence

Today my baby boy, my first born, my little angel - turned 13 years old. Wesley has become a teenager right under my nose (whether I am ready for it or not, whether I am old enough to have a teenager or not, it has happened).

When Wesley was born he was the most determinedly ambitious little person I have ever met. He could not sit still and wait for himself to catch up to the world - he was sure that life was passing him by and he determined to get in on it! As he was my first baby I didn't realize that when he rolled over at a month and a half old that I was in for trouble; I didn't know that most babies slept for longer than four hours at a time; and I couldn't have guessed that when he pulled himself up at the coffee table at the ripe old age of three months old that I was in for 5 months of back breaking pain as he insisted that I walk around bent almost in half, holding his hands, as he tried to make his little body walk like everyone else. Turns out that, for all his determiniation, what was standing in his way was far more natural and beyond his control - the ability to actually gain balance (which he developed at 8.5 months old) was needed to start walking. And walk he did... soon he was running and by 9 months he was climbing and by 12 months he had abandoned his daily nap and, well, no wonder I was a wreck!

Wesley came into this life with his feet running as he hit the ground and he hasn't stopped yet. I know that the teen years will bring their own challenges for us all but I am proud of him and the man he is becoming. Happy 13th Birthday Wesley!

Oh, and for the record, I really am too young to have a teenager!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


The belief that, when you die, your Soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Goodbye Washington!

"There's no place like home... There's no place like home..."

Friday, July 07, 2006

Happy Second Wedding Anniversary!

" love and be loved in return..."

Duncan, my Sweetheart, thank you for coming on this adventure to Washington DC with me, and on all my adventures. It truly is wonderful to have my best friend beside me wherever I go, exploring and learning new things about the world and each other. No place in the world is truly home without you there with me - and when you are holding my hand I know that I am home no matter where we find ourselves.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A Rainy Day in Washington...

Ducks on the Capitol Reflecting Pool

Duncan and I spent many hours walking together today in the rain (with our newly bought umbrella). So far I have really enjoyed the heat and sea level humidity - it suits me... but today it rained almost all day. All I have to say is that a city built out of mostly marble, granite, tiles and bricks is not a safe place in the rain!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Independance Day!

As I write this I can still hear fireworks going off all through the neighbourhood we are staying in - it's July 4th in Washington DC! While we spent our day today in Arlington, Virgina, we had the very unique opportunity this evening of watching the July 4th fireworks from the roof of the Canadian Embassy in Washington. We were also guests at the Embassy for dinner, a wonderful array of Canadian food like Prawns and Caribou (yummy), served by the Embassy's head chef (who had many reasons to be proud of himself tonight). The fireworks themselves were very cool - I've never seen so many fireworks - Sadly my fireworks pics didn't work out but here are some other pics of the evening:

Duncan on the roof of the Canadian Embassy before dinner

The Canadian Embassy has the best view of Capitol Hill

The dinner table...

Duncan and I being romantic on the roof

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Happy Canada Day!

Alberta in DC!

We're celebrating Canada Day in Washington, DC at the Canadian Embassy. The Embassy found itself transformed into a big Calgary Stampede style pancake breakfast, and sometimes it was hard to tell you weren't actually in Calgary! Tones of fun, here are some pictures:

With Mounties at the Embassy

Nice Horsey

With Ambassador Michael Wilson

That's dedication

Minister Mar made my breakfast, Stampede Style!

Supporting our troops!

Murray and Barb

On the steps of the Supreme Court

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Fantastic Prices on BABIES

Originally uploaded by raptortheangel.
IF ONLY it were so easy!!!

e-Bay would make millions!

Tell me, how much is 9 months of your time and your figure worth to you?

From the House of Commons

"That is exactly what the last party did for 13 years, and not only did it get an F, it got kicked out of class."
- Rona Ambrose (on making a better environmental plan for Canada than the Liberal's)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A Bitter End to a Sweet Playoff Run

I have to say it, the Edmonton Oiler's were amazing this season. To fight to play in game seven of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is no small feat - and fight they did, every single game. While it is a little diappointing not to be welcoming home the Stanley Cup, Edmonton welcomes home it's heros who took our dreams and meshed them with their own. Good Job Oilers!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

We Want the Cup!

Saturday, June 17, 2006


Hurry Stanley, we're all waiting for you!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


A short handed goal in Sudden Death Overtime!!! What an amazing game!


It's a 3-3 Hockey Game...

In the third period... three minutes to go... the Hurricanes on the verge of history and Stanley is in the building being "prepped."

Please Stanley, come home.

"And the puck goes down the ice..."

I'm so tense my jaw hurts!

Sitting on the Fence

Some pictures from my old camera... taken out and about in Edmonton.