Friday, July 30, 2010

Everywhere a Sign

Enough Said...

Today included an impromptu trip to CFB Wainwright to pick up Wes. It's been one of those weeks so when I saw this sign at the Junior Ranks Mess I knew it was speaking directly to me.

So yes. Thank God It's Friday

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Have a Heart?

I want to blog about recycling - but not the kind that comes to mind when someone says "recycling." We can be recycled. Yes, you read that right.

Most of us have a cursory understanding of organ and tissue donation - likely from stories in the media about people waiting for heart or kidney transplants - but I don't know how many people realize that almost ALL of us is recyclable. In addition to our organs you can also donate your eyes, skin, tendons, bones and cartilage. In fact, just one person can provide usable parts for up to 75 different people!

Now that's the ultimate act of recycling!

I like this idea quite a bit but I am ridiculously paranoid about carrying around an organ donor card so I've made other preparations. I've let my family know that should I meet with an unfortunate and untimely death that I would be happy if they donated whatever they felt they could part with. I've also included this in my Will and Power of Attorney documents.

You should think about this too. For more info (in Alberta) check out Alberta Health Services. For other places just google "Organ and Tissue Donation" with your location.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Come Along For The Ride!

In the latest Empire Building Network blog post titled "Breaking News: Empire Avenue Adds Influencer Scores," William Pitcher writes about the new social networking scoring introduced today by the Empire Avenue development team. He calculates an "iRanking" based on the unweighted averages (as they are listed today) of the twenty five influencers on the Leaderboard.

Today my scores are EAv (62), twitter (46), facebook (48) and flickr (37). William's calculations of the top 25 leaders on Empire Avenue makes my iRank at number 1.

"Clearly, there are differences between share price and influence scores with someone like ALLIE scoring well on all four measure plus being number one in weekly earnings while only ranking 12th in share price. Expect to see her move up."

When I read this I was pleased - but also a tiny bit perplexed. I think the only way I can move up in share price at this exact moment is to buy the upgrades to offer more shares for people to buy. While this seems to be a no brainer the upgrades are pricey and will come at a considerable cost to my portfolio.

However there can be no gain without some risk and forward movement is the name of the game - I owe it to my shareholders to continue to build on the investments they have made in me. There will be upgrades forthcoming to offer more shares of ALLIE to anyone who wants them - watch out for your chance to own some of the best producing stocks on Empire Avenue. I can't predict exactly where this new adventure will go but I am confident it will be worth coming along for the ride!

See you on the Avenue!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday Morning Coffee

Duncan makes the best Coffee

As much as I love the whole experience of going out to a coffee shop and sitting in nice chairs while enjoying a hot beverage, nothing at all can beat Duncan's coffee. He crafts the perfect cup from grinding the beans to percolating it through the AeroPress with love and no certain amount of skill. And sitting outside in the yard on a sunny summer morning is better than any coffee shop anywhere.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Right of Way

CFB Wainwright

We spent last weekend in the bustling Alberta town of Wainwright, there to visit Wes for his birthday, which conveniently coincided with a leave pass weekend. Before we went we had compiled a list of "attractions" in Wainwright and the surrounding area, all of which we finished/saw/did on the first day. The biggest attraction for sure was the Trestle Bridge (literally) and the town's Buffalo statue was a close second.

It was great to see Wesley and hear his stories. He has grown up so much in just two short weeks. It was good also to see the base again, although a lot has changed since my time there - for example they now have fancy barracks to sleep in (we slept in these tiny "H Shacks" with shared showers... ah, memories).

You can see the pictures of the Wainwright trip HERE.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Help Us Find Our Parents

Lyle & Marie McCann

I think about Lyle and Marie McCann and their family all the time.

I can't help but feel that there is nothing I can do except hope, pray and watch from the sidelines. Of course, there isn't really anything I can do. But this family has been an amazing inspiration to me, the way they have remained positive and focused during this crisis. Their simple plea "Help us find our parents" touches my heart and makes me want to help in any way possible. I never knew Lyle and Marie McCann but I feel like I do now, or would very much like to know them.

If you have any information that may be helpful in the search please contact the St. Albert RCMP Detachment immediately 780-458-4300 or 780-458-7700 24 hour complaint line or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

Monday, July 19, 2010


You're doing it wrong

Wesley is trying to teach Raven the basic rules of camouflage...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Wainwright Birthday

Happy Birthday Wesley

We went to Wainwright to celebrate Wesley's 17th birthday with him. This picture was taken at dinner in a place called the Honeypot. He seems much older than 17 years old now, he's grown up a lot in the past two weeks and it suits him. We had a lot of fun together and on Saturday we went to all of the Wainwright "attractions." Soon there will be more pictures on Flickr.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

My Baby Boy Turns 17

Happy Birthday Wesley!

Wesley has always been very active, even in the womb. He used to kick, turn somersaults and every once in a while jam his feet into my pelvis and stretch up as far as his little body could go... as he got bigger this became harder for him and some time in the last month of pregnancy, unbeknown to us, all of his antics got him stuck. On my bladder to be exact, with his umbilical cord wrapped around his shoulders.

Being trapped made him "late" and I was induced 10 days after my due date. The medication worked wonders and within six hours I was beginning transition labour which I am told is the final, shortest and most rewarding stage of childbirth. However 12 hours later I was still in transition - fully dilated but the baby hadn't moved. Then his heart rate started dropping and it became apparent that something was really wrong. I was pretty out of it by this time but I do remember the flurry of activity as the town hospital tried to prepare a surgical team at 1:30am and by the time I was wheeled into the Operating Room his heart beat was not above 16 beats per minute. I felt like I was observing everything from a detached, safe distance. Until that moment I hadn't even considered not coming home with a baby.

My GP was there with me, standing beside me stroking my forehead, while the OB started the C-Section. Then words I never dreamed I would hear came out of my OB's mouth - "Oh MY GOD look at this bladder!" Apparently as he made the incision my bladder finally succumbed to all the pressure and was ejected out of my body. I recall my GP soothing me with "Don't worry about it, we'll talk about it later." It wasn't too long before they had pulled Wesley out - but instead of any kind of crying there was just my GP with new words to combat my immediate panic "Just let us do our jobs right now" and they whisked him away. My baby was blue, he wasn't breathing or moving. I wasn't breathing either.

They suctioned him, he finally breathed and colour returned to him and to my world. As he cried for the first time I felt a joy that leapt up inside of me and chased all the demons away. He was alive, I was alive, we had clearly both been given a second chance. It wasn't all easy right away, things like incubators and heart monitors dominated for a while but in the end I got to take my baby boy home to flourish.

On his birthday I can't help but think about the story of his entrance into the world with retroactive awe at the role that fate plays in our lives. Things can change so quickly, certain decisions have outcomes you wouldn't have predicted and nothing is ever as simple as it first seems. I also marvel at the power and will of life itself - given the right chance life will always find a way.

17 years later I can't even begin to explain how happy I am that I am wishing him a happy birthday. Happy birthday Wesley!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Look Who's Influencing Now...

Today I am the featured Influencer on the website Empire Building Network. Head on over and check it out!

Big thanks to Joanne Costello for a great article.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

You Know You Want Some

Today ALLIE is the highest dividend-earner on Empire Avenue. I only have a few shares left today, although I will try to free some up for new investors if possible. If you are on Empire Avenue already head over to ALLIE and invest before the available shares are all gone!

If you're not yet trading on Empire Avenue and don't want to be left out any more send me a message. I'd be happy to give you an invite.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Looks Like Morning in Your Eyes

Good Morning Edmonton!

I woke Duncan up at about 5:00am on Sunday so we could go watch the sunrise over Edmonton together. Although I seldom see it (as I am a night owl rather than a morning person) I love this time of a summer day.

This is one of many photographs I took as the sun rose but I haven't had a chance to process the others yet. When I do they will be up on my Flickr.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Be All You Can Be

Wesley had some free time for the first time in a week yesterday and he was able to call home. He's doing well, enjoying the challenges and the camaraderie and didn't even complain too much about the extreme heat that Wainwright seems to get in the days. He describes training with technology that I've never seen and I am excited for him (and maybe even a tiny bit jealous).

It was really great to hear his voice. It was a chance to connect with him telling me his stories and me describing what has happened here in his absence. But what really struck me was his voice - and how it had changed. He sounds like a man. He is a man and I'm proud of him!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Upgrade, Upgrade, Upgrade...

Empire Avenue is growing fast - if you have an online presence at all you do not want to be left out of this. Currently the site is invite only so you have to know someone who can invite you to join. Soon the site will open to everyone so there is a benefit to getting in now and building your profile and reputation before that occurs.

Empire Avenue is the perfect place to promote your online influence and personal brand. Aside from the fun aspects of playing the game (it's a stock market game), I have been enjoying the networking opportunities and really like how people are building communities in Empire Avenue - both online and offline with communiteam meetups. The communities are a place for discourse with a global audience and to find people with similar likes and interests. Participation in your social media connections and on the site itself is rewarded.

I've been reading everyone's advise on how to excel on Empire Avenue and there really is a multitude of great information out there. If I were to add my advice to people on Empire Avenue it would be to upgrade. Upgrade, upgrade, upgrade. Check out the different upgrades you can get in the shop and consider them goals to work towards. They are significant investments but they pay off as your portfolio value grows and your dividends increase.

Oh yeah, and invest in ALLIE!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Can You Handle The Truth?

Tonight Raven had us do a quiz to discover our conflict resolution types. This involved rating value based statements as to how well it matches our typical responses during conflict situations and how we react or behave (not necessarily what we think is the correct response).

Most statements were easy for me to rate as soon as I heard them. Others, like the following statement, made me think. This one for a long time.

"Truth lies in knowledge and not majority opinion."

Being an educated, politically motivated individual who studied religious traditions, this statement first demanded I consider the question "What is truth?"

We all know "facts" change as new knowledge is discovered and we have all seen the power in grassroots movements and spiritual belief. It's hard to dismiss the importance of these phenomena in what we would liberally consider the pursuit of truth. Further, if a "truth" is believed by all but there are no facts or empirical evidence available to back it up, does that make it not true? Or is the majority belief in itself enough to make it a "truth" for everyone?

Of course this simplified argument doesn't allow for an understanding or definition of a variety of truths - we all deal daily with subjective, relative, objective, or absolute truths and might even hold different criteria for deciding which is which.

This statement gave me pause because, while I hold knowledge in the highest esteem I also value greatly the will of the people. I think, for the most part, that if the majority of people believe in something then that is enough to make it true in some sense. However, I do hold minority positions in issues I care fervently about - like equal rights for gay people and families - where I believe strongly the religious majority is just plain (and factually) wrong. I can't have it both ways, can I?

It might just be that there is actually no right or wrong way to find or place value in this statement. This might even be a discussion that doesn't have a natural conclusion. What do you think?

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Choose Your Own Adventure

Destiny brought us together - our choices formed the path

Today Duncan and I celebrate 2192 days of marriage - our sixth wedding anniversary.

Dr James Dobson said "Don't marry the person you think you can live with; marry only the individual you think you can't live without." I couldn't agree with this wisdom more. I can't imagine a world without Duncan in it and as long as he is there holding my hand through our many adventures I will be happy and content.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Paradox of the White Raven

When I was pregnant with my daughter the place that I lived was at the foot of a mountain and on the edge of the ocean. Often the Raven’s would fly down from the mountain and as I was sitting outside they would play in the sky, tumbling and "speaking" to each other. It actually sounded like they were laughing at times.

This is part of how my daughter got her name. The other part is owing to the native traditions of that region where we lived. The Coast Salish and the Haidi believe that Raven is the creator of the people. The name, when used for a baby, means "magic and creation."

The role Raven plays in the creation stories of the BC coastal people is an integral one. This ensures Raven a place of honour in the subsequent mythos that developed as the people struggled to define their relationship with the divine.

These beliefs become more meaningful when a white Raven is born, like has happened this year (and a past few years) in Qualicum. White is often considered the purest form or expression of something and it’s equally true of the raven - who normally comes only in black.

I don't know if the white Raven is a sign or not (like Miracle) but for me it is something special. You can see some beautiful pictures of them on this blog.

And if anyone came here looking for the Paradox of the White Raven, based on my title, perhaps try here. But you should know that not all Raven's are black.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Back To The Future

Who needs roads? Apparently I do...

The modified DeLorean DMC-12, that appears at the end of Back to the Future, is now a hoover car. We're told wheels aren't needed where they're going (2010). It was a tantalizing look at the expected advance of technology over time.

But today we all woke up to greet July 5th 2010 and came to the stark realization that we don't yet have hover cars. Flying cars can't be that hard to develop can they? When, exactly then, is our future?

In the fifth season of West Wing there is a conversation between Josh and Leo I often think about. Josh is relating a meeting with NASA and Leo complains:

"My generation never got the future it was promised... Thirty-five years later, cars, air travel's exactly the same. We don't even have the Concorde anymore. Technology stopped... Where's my jet pack, my colonies on the Moon?"

Where IS my jet pack? I think it's safe to say I at least expected jet packs!

EDIT: It's actually 2015 where they start out in the second movie, not 2010. Seems the internet has fooled me. But I like the post so I will leave it up.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

He's Ready to Go...

Hurry up and wait...

Because his Basic Military Training finished in June, Wesley didn't get course loaded for his Basic Infantry Training, which technically starts tomorrow. Wes is second on the priority waiting list, which means if two people didn't show up for their training today then tomorrow he will get a call to go.

All his bags are packed, he has purchased all the supplies he'll need for the month of July and he has cash for a taxi in case I cannot drive him. It's weird to go to sleep tonight knowing that tomorrow he might be rushing off at a moment's notice and would be gone for the entire month. That will be the longest he has ever been away from home.

I think I am having pre-empty nest anxiety... he is going to be 17 this month and really is quite grown up (I am so proud of him and the man he is becoming). Next year he will be choosing universities and going off to start his life all on his own. It almost seems too soon to me, time has gone by so fast. It's a great thing, growing up and I am so happy for him. I have to find a way to let go as much as he needs me to. I wonder how other parents deal with it?

Friday, July 02, 2010

Happiness and Prosperity

July 1st Fireworks in Edmonton

We watched the July 1st Fireworks from the River Valley by Government House. It's a spot with a great view that doesn't get too crowded. It was a nice way to wrap up another Canada Day. Afterwards we drank hot chocolate outside while watching the International Space Station flyby. Pretty much a perfect evening in my books.

I love fireworks even if the are hard to shoot by hand (which is my modus operandi). I've had the pleasure of seeing July 4th fireworks in DC, watched the Celebration of Light competition in Vancouver and seen fireworks displays at both Disneyland and Disney World. It is one of my favourite things to do after dark.

Fireworks originated in China around 7th century (after the invention of gunpowder) and were used to "frighten away evil spirits" and to pray for "happiness and prosperity." Eventually, as most technology seems to, firework lead to development of pyrotechnic weapons with a military application (and the large explosions we love so much). Today fireworks are used around the world as a way to celebrate holidays and special occasions or simply to entertain. There seems to be some controversy around fireworks (like the pollution discussion) but I don't think I know anyone who doesn't like them. What do you think?

You can read more about fireworks HERE.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Rule #1 - Cardio

Today was much easier to get out to our workout as it is Canada Day. As the gym didn't open early today I was able to sleep in, which was a bonus all in itself.

The gym wasn't very crowded (it usually isn't in the mornings, but less so today) so access to the machines was plentiful and I was able to do my usual circuit without much waiting. My Doctor had outlined 30 minutes of weight/resistance training he wants me to do, but some of the machines I like to do more sets on (like the calf raise) so I actually spent 45 minutes on this part of my work out. Cardio is next, another 30 minutes is what the Doctor ordered. I was going to use a machine but my son wanted to do the track so I walked/ran on the track.

I realize that my workout is a little haphazard and that I should likely focus a tad bit more on what I am actually doing (i.e. trying to build muscle and tone) so before I left I booked an appointment with a personal trainer. That's for next Tuesday evening, which unfortunately means I am going to have to miss Yoga but it was the only appointment time available for the entire month of July.

I told my daughter that I would run the Bloomsday Run with her in 2011. Seemed like an easy thing to promise at the time (haha) but if I am going to be running 12 kms by the beginning of May next year I should develop a training plan for that as well.

After our work out this morning Wesley treated me to Booster Juice - I had a 12 oz Brazilian Thunder with extra fibre, which was tasty and only amounted to 220 calories, less than what I burned this morning at the gym.

Life is good :)

Happy Canada Day!