January 31, 2005
Our new little man
Finally, I get to see his eyes. Just 2 days short of his 1-month birthday!

I haven't blogged much about Alex's first month of life yet. It's been a little rocky. Not only have I not been able to get to know him with my little saga going on, but he also has had a run of sickness. Poor little guy had Pink Eye already! And now has a terrible cold. So tough on such a little one.

The good news is he is already 10 lbs. 11 oz. (nearly 2 lbs. over birthweight) and loves his food.

Tonight was great. I got to have a cuddle with both the kids. Hayley's still wondering if this whole new brother idea was really the best her parents could come up with. I mean, he's alright, I guess but he keeps CRYING!

Another call from my NavyBoy today. This whole satellite phone business is not going to be the most fun, but I will take what I can get. Speaking of which, does anyone have any idea where I can buy AT&T Phonecards online?
Are you looking at me?
As he checks out his Auntie Sue. I told him about all the fun times we have in store, but he's not quite sure yet.
Tech Support

Tech Support: Yes, how can I help you?

Customer: Well, after much consideration, I've decided to install Love. Can you guide me through the process?

Tech Support: Yes. I can help you. Are you ready to proceed?

Customer: Well, I'm not very technical, but I think I'm ready. What do I do first?

Tech Support: The first step is to open your Heart. Have you located your Heart?

Customer: Yes, but there are several other programs running now. Is it okay to install Love while they are running?

Tech Support: What programs are running?

Customer: Let's see, I have Past Hurt, Low Self-Esteem, Grudge and Resentment running right now.

Tech Support: No problem, Love will gradually erase Past Hurt from your current operating system. It may remain in your permanent memory but it will no longer disrupt other programs. Love will eventually override Low Self-Esteem with a module of its own called High Self-Esteem. However, you have to completely turn off Grudge and Resentment. Those programs prevent Love from being properly installed. Can you turn those off?

Customer: I don't know how to turn them off. Can you tell me how?

Tech Support: With pleasure. Go to your start menu and invoke Forgiveness. Do this as many times as necessary until Grudge and Resentment have been completely erased.

Customer: Okay, done! Love has started installing itself. Is that normal?

Tech Support: Yes, but remember that you have only the base program. You need to begin connecting to other Hearts in order to get the upgrades.

Customer: Oops! I have an error message already. It says, "Error - Program not run on external components." What should I do?

Tech Support: Don't worry. It means that the Love program is set up to run on Internal Hearts, but has not yet been run on your Heart. In non-technical terms, it simply means you have to Love yourself before you can Love others.

Customer: So, what should I do?

Tech Support: Pull down Self-Acceptance; then click on the following files:
Forgive-Self; Realize Your Worth; and Acknowledge your Limitations.

Customer: Okay, done.

Tech Support: Now, copy them to the "My Heart" directory. The system will
overwrite any conflicting files and begin patching faulty programming. Also,
you need to delete Verbose Self-Criticism from all directories and empty
your Recycle Bin to make sure it is completely gone and never comes back.

Customer: Got it. Hey! My heart is filling up with new files. Smile is playing on my monitor and Peace and Contentment are copying themselves all over My Heart. Is this normal?
Tech Support: Sometimes. For others it takes awhile, but eventually everything gets it at the proper time. So Love is installed and running. One more thing before we hang up. Love is Freeware. Be sure to give it and its various modules to everyone you meet. They will in turn share it with others and return some cool modules back to you.

Customer: Thanks, I'll try it now.

[update: This is not original. It's just an email that was circulating our office this morning and I thought it was pretty good. - sue]
January 30, 2005
So on a side note, thanks those who commented on whether I should Haloscan it. As you can see, I'm now trying to set it up. My brain's mushy tonight so it probably won't look right for a little bit.

My friends are moving. It's funny how you have many, many takers when it's summer, and you offer barbeque. But you ask help moving, and everybody's suddenly washing their hair. It's not like this was new...they had the moving date last, oh, August, I believe.

I'm a little slow at the moment, between the last vestiges of the pneumonia and the rest of the junk so while I'm totally with it in spirit, I'm about as useful as tits on a bull. Frustrating as all hell. But I was there today, brought the music (thank you, MP3 player!) and was put to work taping dresser drawers closed. It was fun though...well, as fun as moving can be. We laughed, talked about the good times had in the house. But I am beyond exhausted tonight! Embarrassingly so!

We found our new favourite food....Golden Oreos. No doubt these are old school in the US, but are new to us. It's like the vanilla Girl Guide cookies but now we can have them anytime. And we will! Oh, yes...we will.

Tomorrow, it's the rest of the move. I'm not able to take time off work, not with the upcoming medical fun, so I've knighted my brother and dad to go help out. My friends live at the Canadian/US border. Basically, it's their house, a road, a small ditch and then the other side of the street is the US. I'm sure there's some sort of super-sonic radar somewhere, but from the outsider, it just looks like the other side of the road. Last year, I had to smile at something. There were some little kids...two on the US side and two on the Canadian. They were chucking a ball back and forth over the ditch. Too cute!

Watching all the news reports on the Iraqi election, all I can think of is how much we take for granted our voting. I voted for the first time this year. I was one who truly did take it the right for granted, and used to say that living in democracy allowed me NOT to vote, if I so chose. Yeah, I grew up since then. Anyway, it has struck me these past few days that I can't imagine never knowing what it was like to vote, or even my parents knowing either. Living in a society where it wasn't even possible boggles my mind, and makes me realize that it is just so easy to let it become not a big deal. I watch these people, going to the polls for the first time and looking so incredibly happy. They are smiling. They are wearing their best clothes. In Canada, we had 3 polling stations and the closest one to Vancouver was in Calgary. For those not too sure of geography, it's an hour's flight. When it's time to vote here, we complain if we can't get a parking spot or if we have to take time out of our schedules to detour to a polling station. We don't have to arrange a flight at our own expense just to exercise our right. It's a sort of humbling experience to me, and makes me take a little check into my reality.

So my Mom's not well. I am having a very difficult time dealing with it, and have really only been able to talk to one person about it. Even typing this, I feel like I'm somehow allowing things to become real. She is suspected to have colon cancer. There, I said it. On Tuesday, she will have the colonscopy and the biopsy that's required. I've decided, until we know something concrete, I'm not allowing this to be real. My Mom is the type of mom who won't tell us when she's sick until she's 5 minutes to going to the hospital. It's who she is, and I respect that. So she hasn't told my brothers yet. I have chosen not to either at this point. I'm not sure if I'm helping or hindering but in a few days, it won't matter either way. We will be dealing with things or we'll be moving on. In any case, any positive vibes that could be spared would be greatly appreciated.

And before I forget, Flirt has a great charity thing going on tomorrow. She will be donating $1 to a certain charity for each comment on her blog on January 31. Go ahead, check her out, and leave a little hello. It's a small gesture, but will help many.

I've had a couple questions about eyebrow threading. It's a middle eastern practice (although I think Indian as well?) and it's sort of new around here. Instead of tweezing or waxing, the girl takes a piece of ordinary thread and through sort of quick movements, pulls the hair by twisting the thread around it. I'm not describing it well, but there's a couple articles here and here. It's like a mini-facial too. I'll never go back to any other way now...I'm hooked.

Is it worth it? I keep hearing from people it makes their site easier to navigate. I haven't had the problems that a lot of people experience with Blogger (yeah, probably have jinxed in now). What's your opinion? What are the benefits? Cons?

Oh, and got my haircut yesterday! Woohoo! It has been 6 MONTHS since I was able to sit in a chair long enough to get the job done. Finally felt well enough this weekend, and it wasn't without struggle (some people still freak out at my deep cough!) but I'm so happy. I feel 10 lbs. lighter! She threaded my brows too. A new experience, but I think I'll never do anything else but again. Once I got used to the sensation, I swear I nearly fell asleep!
January 29, 2005
I am in the process of uploading my entire MP3 collection onto my new Nomad Zen MP3 player. 30GB, seemed doable but holy hell, that's a lot of SPACE! I have so many random CD's all over the place full of MP3s. I've finished uploading about 13GB (or around 4000 songs) so far....still miles to go. But I'm finding one incredibly annoying thing as I look through the list, it's missing tonnes of information. Some have uploaded only information like [track 1] or [unknown], or better yet, something as descript as 223.

There are few things that really rankle me in life, but one of my pet peeves is either unfinished forms, or spelling mistakes. So I see this little database of music, and it's poorly set up information, and my little perfectionist side of me starts convulsing.

So tonight, it would seem I am playing a little Name That Tune Solitaire.

Play a song. Listen to the first 5 seconds. If I can name it, great. Fill in the info and move on. I'm batting about 75% right now.

But, if not, it's onto Google heaven. I am amazed at how many lyric sites there are out there. Type in something as obscure as 'Here comes Johnny" "Government Loan" and lyrics, and I'm dutifully informed that Iggy Pop sung Lust Of Life and it's from the 70s.

I've also learned I've been suffering from a 20-year old case of Lyrichosis. All this time, I thought Journey sung in Faithfully 'Loving an amusing man isn't all it's s'posed to be'. Ahh...MUSIC man. Whatever. He was probably was amusing too. I liked it better that way.
More 70s Mayhem
The quest through photos continues...I'm pretty sure I didn't call them F-M boots back then, but I was pretty proud of those pleather beauties. Again, gotta love the fluffy random poodle (we had a kennel, there were millions of them, I swear..) or the aged tricycle that likely saw it's way through at least 2 other brothers before me!
January 28, 2005
Scottie McMullett Rides Again...
A friend sent me this link tonight.

Someone's taken the time to 'redesign' the covers of romance novels. Too funny!
The day that was
I've been trying to figure out how to start my post tonight. How to make it a witty little reparte into the life and times of the moment. It ain't happenin'. You're stuck with me (or at least if you're BE/BC-ing it, for another 25 seconds) in my introspective thought pattern for the moment.

In another episode of how-stupid-is-my-boss, though, we went out for lunch to try and salvage the mood amidst the layoff news and the conversation turned to my life and my support for Todd and the troops overall. I always enjoy a chance to change some opinions or inform some of the more lesser known stories (usually gleaned from blogs like Blackfive, etc.).

My boss asked if I planned on visiting Todd while he was in Iraq. Um, last I checked, it wasn't really set up too well for Club Med soirees.

I said (trying not to laugh): 'Well, no. I think it's safe to say I won't see him until he returns'.
BossDude: 'But that could be a year! That's too long to ask of anyone.'
Me: 'Many people do it and in more extreme situations than I'.
BossDude: 'But a whole year? Really? I'm sure you could maybe visit him in Baghdad or something'.
Me: (trying very hard to be serious and not sound condescending) 'I think it's not really a safe place to visit. It's just part of the commitment. We wait it out. What will be will be'.
BossDude: 'Can't you just go and maybe stay on the American base or something?''

Anyway, you get the idea. The man just doesn't have a clue.

I'm sort of down tonight about the situation with Todd. We had a very emotional conversation last night (yes, he was able to call back) and it's put me in a bunch of varied emotions. He was feeling sort of sad, introspective. Not knowing the long picture, and just getting settled, he was really concerned about how I was dealing with it. The gyst of the conversation was that he knew he had no right to ask me to wait for him, considering the length of our relationship (6 months yesterday) and the fact that he doesn't know what's going to happen. I told him I was prepared to. I made that decision some months ago, when I realized that my heart was speaking louder than my head and that it was what I knew was the right thing to do. For me and for him.

He was worried that I was being emotional and felt that he was being selfish for wanting me to. That he felt he was holding me back. I disagreed. He said some amazingly sweet things about me that still make my ears burn red as I'm not able to take compliments well. And said that I was too good a catch to wait for a year plus. He implored me to agree to continue to date while he's gone and to try to live life to the fullest. That when he returned, if things were still ok, then we'd resume.

I obviously wasn't buying. I told him I knew what I'd signed up for, and if I planned on ditching when things got too real, we never would have got this far. I know, from this last conversation and previous ones, that he does think we have a future but his chivalry prevents him from wanting me to be in any hardship because of him. It's proven extremely difficult for him to take compliments from me too, and when I've sent him little gifts, he's been overwhelmed and very emotional that I've taken the time to do so. We've both had some pretty painful pasts and I think it's very hard for both of us to accept that there are no real hidden agendas, and we just seem to have bonded and well, grown to love each other over these past few months. Sure, I'm well aware that the odds are against us, that neither of us are getting younger, that we both have so many reasons why this should not be. But at the end of the day, I hear his voice and my heart melts. I feel like a 16 year old schoolgirl, and want to play his phone messages over and over and over. He makes me smile and when he calls me 'hunnybunny' (which any other time in my life would have made me GAG), all is right in the world.

That's gotta be worth somethin', doesn't it?
Blast From The Past
I've been going through some old pictures trying to sort out a family 'walk through the years' DVD for my parents upcoming 53rd anniversary. Here's probably the only picture in existence of me ever having any interest in sports.

I love this shot. I must have been 3. I'm not sure if it's the pink pants poking out of the lacrosse jersey or the classic station wagon in the background. 1972, baby! It doesn't get better than that.
January 27, 2005
Old School meets New School
A guilty pleasure. I've been sort of hooked on Degrassi: Next Generation. There's some sort of fascination with seeing Joey Jeremiah as a teacher and it's somehow like watching my high school reunion. Growing up, I was hooked on Degrassi Street, Degrassi High...the whole shebang.

(For Americans reading this, trust me it was a good show!)

Now, I see a commercial for this. Could it be true? Kevin Smith's part of the crowd too? Too cool!
Two guilty pleasures collide. I couldn't be happier.

And on a side note, Hi Ian! This is what I was telling you about last night!
Who was on the planning committee?
I had to upload directions of Vancouver International Airport today to forward to a vendor. Is it me or does the International Terminal rather, um, masculine?
And you just knew it would happen..
We had a fire alarm at work today. First one in probably 4 years. So, trudgingly, (if that's not a word, it should be) I put my coat on, and evacuated. Well, started to, then ran back for my cell phone in case I got a call. We got outside, were there about 90 seconds and then the all-clear rang for us to go back in.

Sure enough, Todd called.

10 freakin' days I've waited for that call. 10 days of news reports, my mind wandering. 10 days of not leaving my desk, even for lunch or moving more than 3 feet without my cell phone. And he calls then? The 5 minute window.

Of course, he gloated. 'Ha, Sue...you told me you'd stay by your phone. Thanks for keeping your promise. Ha ha.' Argh.

He said his next chance is probably not 'til Monday. Great. Performance review day.

But the bright side, he's safe. We'll just have to go with that. The funniest thing I'm learning about myself on this path is how little it takes to make me happy. He once hiked a mile down the road in a snowstorm to find a payphone to call me when he couldn't get an open line at the training centre. I was on Cloud 9. It's the little things that somehow become the big things.

Ooh, great line on Law and Order the other night. 'He doesn't just have issues...he has a subscription.' I am so going to have to remember that one.
Politically Incorrect Day
Yesterday was Politically Incorrect Day in our office. There's a view around our department of a big ol' WTF. We haven't heard any more about the headcount reduction, so the mood has passed the somber zone and gone right into the giddy world of whocaresatall. It's a much less stressy place of practical jokes, rude comments and bringing all we've learned in those mandatory Sexual Harassment courses to shame. Someone once said of the S.H. courses, that at least we were being taught how to do it properly! And with that, the following post will be somewhat suggestive. You've been warned! =)

I work in a procurement role. So time to time, we get fairly odd requests considering we're an Scientific R&D type company. We have had to source an anatomically correct model for a male catheter. The sample we got in was contained in an oversized lunch-box type container, and when opened, it contained a very real-looking, um, package. Although, we decided it was a bit small, really.

My boss hates not being part of a secret. Or if he thinks he's not part of a conversation, he will make a point of coming over and standing there, like some kid being picked last for the school team. The exchange went something like this:

BossDude: 'What's in the container, b?'
b: 'Oh, nothing...just a package'.
m: 'it's a bit small really....'
BossDude: 'Can I see?'
b: 'Ahh...no, it doesn't really concern you'
BossDude: 'But what is it? I want to see....'
b: 'Well, it wasn't really addressed to you'.
BossDude: 'But it's to our group, isn't it? Can you eat it?'
b: 'Well, some do. Some really enjoy eating it'
m: 'Just shouldn't use your teeth'
b: 'Actually, the instructions say you shouldn't use your fingernails either'.
BossDude: 'Oh, ya gotta show me....' [voice taking on a whiney quality]

b: 'Oh, ok, don't be a baby. Close your eyes and stick your hand in'
BossDude closes his eyes, and starts rooting around in the lunch box.

The look of pure horror comes over his face as you can see his hand encircle the um, tubular part of the model.

BossDude: 'But, but...it feels like....SKIN'

Apparently BossDude and Mrs. BossDude don't go for the extra fullmeal deal, after all.

The container was then dutifully zipped back into it's original condition, with a note attached to one of the other managers: 'Your wife dropped off your lunch today'. I have rarely heard a guy scream but you certainly knew when he opened it.

Tension breaker. Had to be done.

January 25, 2005
The wheel keeps on turning...
Another day done, but today was just a little brighter. I realized today that it was actually still LIGHT when I left work. Only for about 15 minutes, but still, the days are definitely getting longer! I have never been a winter person. But there's something about getting up and driving to work in the dark, and then driving home after work in the dark. I work with my back to the window so I don't really see the day, and after a while it feels like I never see the daylight except on weekends. I could never be a nightshift person. I would go mad!

Work was, well, like a mausoleum. It's feeling like they took the heart out of our team. I am seeing a little clearer today that it truly looks like R. took it for the team. He wrote himself out in such a way as to leave us a little safer, and that's something I will always respect him for. Actually, I ended up writing him an email to let him know how I felt. I don't really do resolutions as such, but I do try to improve certain things in my life when I see them. The one I'm working on now is to let people know what I feel, for good and bad. I figure if I'm thinking it, it should be said.

In other work news, I got my performance review from my boss today. He's such a weak little man, such a shadow compared to the other guy. The way we do our reviews is somewhat drawn out. I did my self-assessment two weeks ago, then today he gave me his response. On Monday we will meet to go over where we don't agree. So far, I've got a couple big ones. I am trying to work out the most effective manner to mediate them. The review overall, is pretty damned fine, actually. He acknowledges all the crap I've negotiated through during the year, along with the tight deadlines and there's quite a few good comments like 'goes the extra mile.', 'reputation of getting the job done no matter what the obstacle', etc. But it's the shit sandwich part. You know, sandwich the positives with the negatives and make everyone all happy. My negative? That I get sick. I am really not sure how to handle that one. It's such an Achilles' Heel to me. I am very sensitive to my ill health, and taking a day off to me is a failure. So I don't. His comment is that I make everyone feel uncomfortable because they know I don't feel good and they don't know what to say. huh-wha?? Oh, gee, dude, sorry my pain is causing you embarrassment! I'm not really sure what he wants me to say! He went on to say that I have consistently met deadlines and not missed any goals, but that he wants me to improve on my health. Yeah, you and me both! I just don't get it. I am at such a loss! I realize I'm close to it, but what other employee would be working on a report while in a hospital bed? I am hurt over it. I know I'm taking it too personally but how else should I take it? I just do NOT get it or what I can do about it. So, I'm going to call him on it on Monday...I need ideas of how to word it, but I'm going to just make it clear that as long as I am not missing my goals and am consistently putting work above my health, I do not want that in the review!

In other news, my brother had some scary news with his older dog today. We're big dog lovers in this family. My parents even owned a kennel when I was a kid. We showed poodles and basset hounds. So growing up, it was nothing for us to have 6-7 dogs living in the house at any given time. So now we all have dogs...most of us have rescued our babies and they're just like our kids. Anyway, Rick's eldest, Maggie was diagnosed with congestive heart failure today. She's 17 but was born as a runt, with a heart problem and was given only a few week's to live then. She has had an amazing little life. Maggie weighs MAYBE 2 lbs., if that (she's a cocker-poo) but has more attitude than a pit bull on 'roids. She has been run over 4 times, attacked and chomped by dogs more than once, stolen and recovered and all the time, ruled the roost in that house. This morning, my sis-in-law woke up to find her barely breathing. Rushed to the vets, she was given medicine and is expected to pull through for the next few weeks, anyhow. Now I wish I could run down Deb's comments about the episode, because my SIL has a wickedly dark sense of humour but it's not going to nearly come out like it should. Deb said 'So I just told her, Maggie May....I just spent $200 on you and well, I just don't have the extra $300 it would take to stuff you after, so you are just going to have to hold on'. She went on to say she was going to stuff her, and then get a little thing put on her paw so when she pushed it, Maggie would either shake and vibrate, or sing 'How much is that doggy in the window?' Yeah, sick to some, sure, but it made us laugh!

Their new boxer baby arrives this weekend. Patch is just 7 weeks old now, and is now on her way to them. I just hope Maggie's not too ill for this to be a bad transition starting out.

I haven't heard in Todd in such a long time now. Over a week. Yeah, I knew it was bound to happen as he transitions around the big Sandbox, but knowing it and dealing with it are two different animals! I read the milblogs and it makes me wish he was more of a computer guy, but I'm lucky if I get a one liner email! He said he's gonna work on it, but you're either into emailing or you're not. And well, he's just not. I was reading about those yellow ribbon magnets for cars, but I'm not sure where you get them. I know I can't buy 'em here, but not sure where in the States I'd have to go. There must be somewhere online, I guess...anyone have any ideas where I could get one?

Looks like the Boston terror threat was another hoax. No surprise there. It was just too bizarre and smelled way off. I can only imagine how many would-be theorists they must get, calling with crazy stories after reading some old Tom Clancy novel. I am just surprised this one even got attention.

Random weird thought....what ever happened to Andrew Dice Clay? I googled him but it seems after he freaked out on CNN during an interview in November, 2003. Nada. Yeah, he was crass but I had to admit I kinda thought he was funny at times. I loved Ford Fairlaine....great movie.

And wow, 1 month since the Tsunami. Seems like such a quick month, but I guess not if you're there. I read on the weekend where they found a survivor stranded 25 days on a small island after being washed up by the waves. He was the sole survivor on the island. Take THAT, Mark Burnett! That dude deserves his $1M and more! But, no doubt, someone's already selling his story and trying to figure out who going to play him in the movie.

January 24, 2005
The worst day of the year?
This morning, BBC reported that today is the official worst day of the year. A combination of foul weather, debt, fading Christmas memories, failed resolutions and a lack of motivation conspire to depress. Great way to throw a smile on your face on Monday morning!

Turns out it ain't been all that good after all. Again, I fight myself here not to be down and depressing. There's way too much of that, and it doesn't do anyone any good!

We started our company redundancies today. One of the most amazing people I have ever had the pleasure to work for was the first to go. This is a man who pushed me to become what I am today. I fight with my insecurities over the whole BookSmart/StreetSmart story all the time (damn you, Trump, for listening to my thoughts again!). However, R never saw that in me. He saw what I could do, and always pushed me to do it. Subtletly. Most of the time I never realized he was doing it, until I looked back later. Everything was a negotiation to him and he was very instrumental in the organization as it is today. These last 7 years, it was he who had the vision to see us as an international success, and not just a mom-and-pop store. But, sadly, things change. Loyalties fade. New management doesn't see the blood sweat and tears, only the bottom line numbers. So we lose a man who held our department so close, we became a family. The company loses a high-level manager and many, many vendor relationships that will be very difficult to rebuild.

The story is that is just the start. So many numbers being thrown around right now. Everyone's scared. Puffed up bravado everywhere ya go... In all honestly, I really can't get too excited about it. I'm either going to have a job or I'm not. Nothing I do will make a difference, so it ain't worth worrying about. It's a job. I actually think we're safe anyhow...something tells me R was the sacrificial lamb.

I went to the doctor again today for a check on the pneumonia. Good news is that it seems to have stopped progressing. It's not better, but it's not getting worse. The cough is ridiculously bad. I sound like a seal in mating season. Don't be surprised if you see me balancing a ball on my nose and clapping my flippers, I mean, arms together. When I start craving sardines, I know it's bad!

She's sending me for more tests. Basically, to test for lymphoma. At this point, my head is just going blahblahblahblah I'm not LISTENING! But because I've been sick since October, and the cough, fatigue, swollen lymph glands, kidney stuff, backpain and headaches are just not making the doctor happy. I guess she's tired of seeing me every week. Whatever, I'm helping her kids through school...she should be! I must have CASHCOW stamped on my forehead! Speaking of which, I kinda made the paper. I wrote a few letters after my unfortunate incident in December and was referred to as "Irate hospital patients demand change" in the local paper. They've now admitted that there really is a problem and it needs to be addressed.

But because I am not letting freak out about it (yeah, right!), I would just like to share a blog I found tonight. Cav is such a wonderfully upbeat and hilarious person. I only wish I could share her great sense of humour!

Ok, nuff about me. Time for some news comments...

CTV reports that 30% of Canadians are ignorant about the Holocaust. So 3 out of 10 Canadians live under a rock. Seriously? Speaking of which, I wonder if the Idiot-Prince Harry ended up making it to Auschwitz today for the 60th anniversary memorial service. I really hope that his Dad made him follow through on it. It really should not be swept under the rug. It is a big deal. Period.

So the US has spies? The Pentagon confirms they have a secret branch. But don't tell anyone, 'k ? Is this really news? Maybe I am just not getting it, but did anyone really think they didn't have some sort of clandestine information gathering department, if not more? Every country does, for domestic and foreign interests! I mean, heard of undercover cops?

And apparently, Bush didn't really mean it last month about missile defence in Canada. Gawd, ya can't make any comment under your breath these days without everyone making a federal case of it.

They say being big-boned runs in the family. So the whale and the hippo are related. They do look sort of familiar now that you think about it...hmmmm....what's the next step? A whalopottamus?

Nice to know Vancouver makes the international news scene with this little story. Again, why is this news? He's a shoplifter. Plain and simple. Doesn't matter what you steal, you're just a thief. It's like Beavis-and-Butthead were in charge of the headlines today.

And congrats to Madame Rowling on the birth of her 3rd little Potterling. She-who-has-not-been-named, arrived over the weekend.

Speaking of which, a fun little time waster is always Celebdaq. Run through the BBC, you can 'buy' shares in celebrities. Based on how much a certain celebrity is reported in the media during the week, you receive dividends. It's kinda addicting!

Ok, pet peeve about how the media reports. Why do they have to write like we're all complete idiots and have been living in caves for the last decade? Reading a story about the tsunami, it's detailing the recent developments and then the last paragraph states "On December 26, a tsumani ripped through South East Asia killing 226,000 people'. It's like You're kidding? Really? How come I never heard of this before now? Similar reading a story on terrorism, and then seeing a paragraph stating "On September 11, 2001, 4 planes were hijacked...", etc. Naaaaaawwwww....you don't say! It just really grates on me! What editor would actually let that go? Do they really and truly think there is ANYONE who is reading in the entire world that does not know these basic facts?

January 23, 2005
Johnny Carson passes...
So the breaking news of the morning is of Johnny Carson's passing at the age of 79. He passed away of emphysema, something my Mom also suffers from.

Watching the news coverage, I'm stuck with the fact that either he was an extremely difficult person to get to know, or that pretty much everyone famous is busy this Sunday morning.

FoxNews has Jerry Lewis and Phyllis Diller talking about him. Neither had seen him in 30 years. But as Jerry said, those 4 weeks back in the 50's were a dream.

On CNN, it's Joan Rivers. She can't even hold back the fact that he obviously did not care for her at all. They try to coax her to say nice things, but she refers to the fact that they haven't spoken in years. She tried to get in touch, but he didn't return calls.

So, it's been clips of the Tonight Show. Mostly Bette Midler stuff. The last monologue. Nothing new, or so far, anyone other than his nephew having any real connection to him. Words like reclusive, shunning the spotlight and others are being used.

Is that a bad thing? Maybe he was a smart guy. Surrounded himself with those that truly cared for him as an individual, rather than an icon and fuhgettabout the rest. When he left TV 13 years ago, he didn't owe anyone a thing. He was more than allowed to fade into the horizon, which he did.

He passed away surrounded by his family. And that, I think, is a great way to go. By those that truly love you.
Fraser River driftwood
Snowbirds - Tallship Festival 2002
Picture Posting Sunday
Mendocino Beach, August 2003

In honour of no real good ideas for posting at the moment, I thought I'd post some of my more favourite pictures I've taken. My friends call me Snapper. I'm never without a camera. I take pictures of everything. Anything.

One day, maybe even this year, I might have to take a course on photography and find out how to do it better. So far, I'm just going on instinct and whim. The above shot was taken around 5:30pm on a California beach in August 2003. My friend and I had been driving north all day and were dogtired. We saw this beach and thought it was time to get out and run.
January 22, 2005
Knowing your neighbours
The week I moved into my home in 1999, there was a tragic and scary incident in the park behind my house. A woman was beaten so badly by her husband, she became comatose and was hospitalized for an extended period. What bothered me at the time was the man beat her with a baseball bat, while she screamed and no one tried to help. They called 9-1-1, sure...but no one stopped him.

I thought, what kind of neighbourhood am I moving into? This would probably be categorized as upper middle-class. Houses run in the $500K range. It's close to amenities, parks and the water. But I could not keep thinking about that poor woman. Frankly, I often wondered about what ever happened to her. I never really spent a lot of time until today trying to figure out where she actually lived, but thought of her often. Did she come through it ok? Did she leave him? Do I pass her on the street and don't know it?

A couple days ago, I mentioned here that there were police cars acrosss the street. I assumed it was to do with the rainstorm. There was a city truck nearby with sand in the back, so I just figured there must be some sort of localized flooding somewhere out of my view.

The same day, in another part of my city, a man was murdered. Two days short of his retirement, a mental health therapist was brutally attacked and stabbed to death while leaving work. Before he passed away, the man was able to identify the assailant as one of his former patients. Again, murder doesn't hit my town. It's rare. It's a pretty safe place over all.

I didn't put two and two together until I saw the news last night. They showed the man who was arrested for the murder and he looked extremely familiar. Then it hit me. That's why the police cars were across the street. That's where the dude lived!

So I did a little google search on him and sure enough, it's the same guy who did the deed on his wife in 1999. Oddly, the same search also brought up other convictions of firearms related issues and illegal importation of steroids.

Hmmm...steroids? An odd thought crossed my mind. Last June, I was driving a friend to work for a late night shift. We stopped at a store to grab some snacks. It was about 11pm. I waited in the car while Dan ran in. Beside the convenience store, there was one of those weight-lifting based health food store. It was closed, obviously, but there were these two dudes out front that just creeped me out. As I sat in the car, watching them, they seemed wired. Almost like they were jonesing for a fix, and couldn't get it. I was relieved when Dan came back to the car, kinda laughed about the 'roid monkeys and we drove off.

Turns out the store was owned by this scary guy from across the street. It's where he was finally arrested for the murder of the health care worker. So, sounds like this guy is just an entire prince all around.

Kinda makes you stop and think. Who are your neighbours? Do you know?
January 21, 2005
Movies for me
The Americans have Netflix for mail-order DVD rentals, as well as now Blockbuster and Walmart, I think.

The Canadians are a bit slower on this game. Probably due to less population, I'm guessing? Not sure exactly why but this great idea hasn't really caught on too well.

We have a couple of choices. Movies For Me and VHQ Rentals as far as I know. Both are about the same. $25 a month, unlimited rentals. 4 or 5 out at a time.

Just around the New Year, I decided to give Movies For Me a test run. They offer a 2 week trial, but if you pay for 6 months in advance you get a 5% discount. Sounded like a decent deal to me. I'm always out at Blockbuster and I'm always late. I tend to rent movies, make copies of them (yeah, shame on me!) and watch 'em later.

They suggest you pick at least 20 movies in your queue and can chose up to 200. So, happily, I filled up the list to 45. They offer a handy little priority sequence too, so you can choose what order you would like. Sounds like a dream? Yeah, not so much.

So far, my first 4 movies were sent out on January 4. They were numbered 28-32 in my list of priorities. Ok, fine, I thought. It's the holidays, I'm sure a lot of movies are out. It'll work out better the next time.

Then I waited. And waited some more. My first 4 movies didn't even ARRIVE at my door until January 13. I realize it's busy in the mail, but 9 days? I quickly turned them around that night and had them in the mail on the 14th.

According to their website, they received 3 of the 4 on January 19. Another week? So much for my two-week trial! It's done before we even got going!

In the meantime, I've already been back to Blockbuster twice for other movies, updated my queue on Movies For Me twice to take off the ones I already picked up, so I'm certainly not saving anything by doing it this way. If not, my expenses have probably doubled.

Just looking at the site now, the next batch has now been sent today. Guess what numbers this time? Numbers 14, 15, 17 and 32. The best part? I ordered the Shogun miniseries. It looks like they've sent me Disk 3 and 4. Yeah, didn't really want to start it at the beginning or anything.

Not very impressed at this point. I thought this was supposed to make things easier but can't say I'd recommend it!
A Challenge
Rebecca was kind enough to pass this little Friday night item on to me, and really got me thinking a bit.

  1. What is the total amount of music files on your computer?
    Ooh, it's scary. Somewhere between 2,500 and 3,000. I really need to clean it up SOON. But thankfully, my new little friend is on it's way to help with the chore. Music is what keeps me going. I love pretty much any genre, and make it a habit to always listen to music from all over the world, and not just our Pop 40.

  2. The CD you last bought is:
    Rod Stewart's Stardust. Not much I do buy these days, but there are some that still are worth it. I found a great programme for cataloguing music collections though and it does great reports like this.

  3. What is the song you last listened to before reading this message?
    Hmmm...been watching TV so maybe the theme to Dateline? Last song on the radio was "Over and Over" by Nelly/Tim McGraw, which I must admit is rather catchy.

  4. Write down 5 songs (only 5??) you often listen to or that mean a lot to you:

    • Five for Fighting - Superman. One night after my brother had a particularly difficult day on the job as a policeman, we were sitting around the campfire and he said he felt like that song was about him. That he felt he had to always act the hero and he didn't particularly feel it very much. I felt so close to him that night, and now that song always makes me think of him and our family.
    • Andrea Bochelli - Con Te Partiro. Yeah, all the best opera I learned from the Sopranos. Seriously though, there is something about this man's voice that just moves me. This song in particular stirs deep inside.
    • Just Jinger - I Like You Madly. A South African group I was introduced to during my 1997 trip. I don't think this song even made it out of South Africa, but it's light and happy. Reminds me of summer and happy times.
    • Bowling for Soup - 1985. Probably just a fad for me right now, but it just astounds me that it's really 20 years ago. How did time fly?
    • Faith Hill - Breathe. I've been a Faith Hill fan for eons. Her early country songs always spoke to me and even were a push for me leaving home in her song 'Someone Else's Dreams'. It may be a little corny, smushy or whatever, but it was the first song I heard on the radio in the morning after meeting Todd and it just sort of makes me miss him and think of him now. Yeah, sad, isn't it?
  5. Who would you like to pass this torch onto?
    • Stephie, my Little Rock buddy. I'm sure she rocks with the best of us!
    • Scarlett at WackySouthernHousewife. I'll bet you have great tastes in music!
    • Anyone else sitting out there on a Friday night and want the challenge.

On The Bench
Ahhh...Friday night. I'm gonna take it as a compliment that the office was a freakin' mess when I returned today. Job security, if they can't do without me for two days, right? Hope so. We had a nice little memo in our inboxes this morning that layoffs are expected in the next month. Oh joy! Well, of course the term is "overall headcount reduction", actually but I digress. I think I'm safe...pretty sure anyhow. I've got a pretty little niche built for myself and have proved it a couple times over the last couple months. Of course, it still kinda niggles. Not that I can do anything about it at all. The thing is I've seen layoffs before, and most people I know ended up calling it a blessing in disguise.

So had a nice little offer from the vets today. Molly goes to daycare every day. Yeah, it's extravagant but anyone who lives with a border collie knows that the $10 a day it costs me is getting off cheap not to have a frenzied ball of energy to come home to every night. It's at a vet's and considering she's as accident prone as her human mother, it comes in handy. Anyway, ya go there every day...you end up getting friendly with the staff. Today, I made it through work but I was a little worse for the wear when I picked the furkid up. The vet assistant took one look at me and asked if I'd like to be euthanized, no charge of course! "Come on, we got it all hooked up in the back, you'll be feeling nothing in no time!" Damn near took her up on it!

The thing that's eating me tonight is that I'm on the bench. Again. I really want to have a social life. I really do. But time and time again, I just am so DONE by the time I get home that I just can't. This whole pneumokidneycrapola-itis just completely sucks and I had to turn down a really wonderful offer to go up to the casino with friends tonight. They understand. They know I'm with them in spirit, but hell, I am disappointed! It's just times like these that I really appreciate the friends who have not fairweathered during this latest health stretch. Sadly, I've lost contact with at least two since I got sick. Granted, it's obvious they weren't all that anyway, but it's just pissy. A real kick in the back. Ok, enough down and out crap....doesn't do any good anyhow so let's talk lighter stuff.

I got my new Ebay purchase today. They are my new bestest, most favorite-ist pair! I just love shoes. It's almost an obsession. And I just recently found GothamOnline on Ebay. Cheap, cheap and so quick! Damn, and now I'm shopping again.

This whole moratorium on shopaholicism lasted, oh, 3 days. But I've been sick, dammit! I deserve it! [foot stomp]

And on another note, my Mom is having another episode of control freak from hell. She gets worse when I'm down and for each day I'm sick, it's like she regressed me one year. I think I'm about -7 at the moment. First, there's the calling. Every 45 minutes. If I don't answer, it's the cell phone. You get the idea. Today, she and my Dad decided to come over and "clean up a bit" for me. Nice, huh? Yeah, no....parent people! I am an adult! If I want dirty dishes in the sink, they're MY dirty dishes. I like dust! I was reading those damned magazines, thank you very much. But the piece d'resistance? I just got a call from her asking how many biscuits I gave the dog last night. Um, no freakin'clue, why? Well, she looked in the biscuit container and it seemed way lower. And apparently, that's no good....blah blah blah. Argh. It never ends. My dog. If I want her fat, and rolling from one room to the next, my problem! Just because I live on my own, it's like I somehow never aged in her eyes. Didn't do the walk down the aisle, so I must be incapable of looking after myself. Some days, I really have to grit my teeth not to rip into her. But there's no point. It only hurts her and well, there will be a day that I will wish I could hear her voice. Life is short, and getting shorter every day.

Back to shoe shopping, I think. It's a happier place!

January 20, 2005
One last one for the evening...
Well, it's just about time to call it a night. Gotta get an early night so I can try for work again tomorrow.

Updating the earlier post, the police cars have gone as has the sandbag truck. I can only assume whatever happened is no longer happening. The heavy rain warning has ended for now, but tomorrow it will be back. 75mm expected. 3" for those still imperializing.

A new Red Ensign Brigade has been put up. Always an interesting read of some of the more opinionated Canadian bloggers. I have learned a lot from them, widened my own views and hope continue to do so.

Lastly, another one of those Blogthings....

You Are the Peacemaker


You are emotionally stable and willing to find common ground with others.

Your friends and family often look to you to be the mediator when there is conflict.

You are easy going and accepting. You take things as they come.

Avoding conflict at all costs, you're content when things are calm.

And with that a Good Night. Oh, and a Hi to Leigh. [waving madly] I finally admitted my blog addiction to my 3D friend. I have been hesitating for a while...not sure why, just that it seems like it's so personal in some ways. It's one thing for strangers who will never meet me to read my rants, but another entirely when it's my best friend. Hope you enjoy the travels through my rambles!
Should I worry?
It's still raining quite a bit. Well, more than quite a bit actually. But in my safe little world on my couch, I'm only reading about it on internet sites. Or watching the news.

I haven't been able to leave my place in 48 hours, more because of the bronchial pneumonia, rather than the rain so it's hard to know.

Then about 3 hours ago, a couple police cars blocked my road. They have their lights on and are helping the city crew truck in handing out sandbags. I don't see any flooding. From my vantage point, there's only one bigass puddle under a tree but nothing too crazy.

Our city website only says there is localized flooding. And nothing noting my particular area. There's nothing I can find at all that mentions my area at all. News just seems to be about the more majorly hit areas like North Vancouver and Tsawwassen.

I can't really leave the house to check it out. I guess I'll just have to take the chance that if it really is bad outside my area of vision, then somebody will come tell me.

A little disconcerting though.
Mindless musings
I can't believe Blogger just ate my post. I've heard of it happening but urgh, first time for me! That'll teach me not to save in betweeen.

I'm giving up on going into work today and have been sitting here surfing around on websites and blogs. Comments popping into my head, here and there, so I thought I'd just pop them into a post. I'm a news junkie. It's sad. Gotta have my daily fix. Sometimes, it gets out of control. I have been known, as with the recent Tsunami tragedy, to be tranfixed watching and reading everything to all hours of the night. Or back when the Iraqi war just started, I often woke up at 2 or 3am and flipped on the news to see those early days of imbedded journalists filming miles and miles of sand. I am often teased by my family and friends about it. It's cool. They call me SueNN. One graphic designer friend actually did up a logo...must find that again, I was impressed. Even at work, my boss made comment that I didn't need to know the headlines as soon as they happen, but at the same time, often comes to me to ask what's happening where. So with that....my rundown on some of the more current events.

I'm gonna leave the inauguration stuff out. It's an American thing. It's been talked about enough, by people much more eloquent than I.

Today, 24 years ago, the American hostages in Iran were released. The reason I remember is that this is my brother, Ray's birthday. He was turning 19, the age of majority in Canada. It sort of stuck with me. I'm like that with dates though. Anything number related, and it sticks in my head like Crazy glue. Anyway, happy 43, Lieutenant B.

What's with the lovely Miss Sydney Simpson? Seems she shares her father's anger issues, poor girl. The 19 year old was arrested for disorderly conduct in Florida last weekend. I'm sure there's more to the story. There always is. But I'm sure the fact remains she wasn't using her finishing school manners that day.

How big was that baby in Brazil? That Mom must have been so uncomfortable! 16.7 lbs of baby, let alone all the rest of the weight that goes along with it. She must have been a wreck!

The NHL players association is meeting today in a Toronto airport. Yesterday, it was a Chicago airport. Purportedly, because it's neutral ground. I'm a deprived hockey fan. I never thought I'd say it. It's been part of my life growing up, and although I never really stopped my life because of a game, it's just always BEEN there. Like air. Like trees. It just IS. This year, I have truly missed it and I hope something can be figured out soon. The greatest benefit, though, is that the oft-forgotten talents of the OHL, WHL and other minor and semi-pro leagues are being spotlighted. Those that still are there for the game, and not the politics.

So there's a dirty bomb plot in Boston? Huh, somebody's been watching a little too much Third Watch, I think. I hope. The story seems a little too off for me. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's that it's not really being picked up as any more than a side story. Or that it's not even being reported locally here in Canada. My mom thinks I've made it up....of course, if it's not on our 6 o'clock news, it didn't happen.

Locally, we're still on flood watch. There were a few minor mudslides overnight. No one else killed, but the lady that lost her life yesterday was a well-known professor at the local college. Her husband is in critical condition, but will likely live.

An interesting article on Eid Al-Adha on CBC. One quote "Meanwhile about 2.5 million Muslims took turns hurling stones at pillars in Mina, Saudi Arabia." struck me. Imagine, what that would be like? The crowd would be tremendous. I could never imagine myself wanting to be in such a large crowd of people, especially those hurling rocks. But, good for them, to be so committed to what they believe in.

And how sad is this? A 16-year old troubled teen falls to his death in a courthouse elevator shaft. I can only imagine what his family must be going through. It's hard enough to deal with a wayward teen, but to have to lose them in such a preventable way. So sad.

A sex-addicted doctor in Ontario loses his license after posting nude photos of him and his escort on the internet. Wasn't that a plot line on Nip and Tuck? I love that show. I can't wait for Season 3!

I've been making a concerted effort to leave comments on blogs as much as possible. I know when surfing through on BlogClicker or BlogExplosion, the tendancy is just to ramp those credits up as much as possible. I'm guilty of it, definitely. It's addicting to see those numbers rise, but it only takes a few extra seconds to leave a little comment. It's worth it. I've been trying to these last couple days and it's sort of adding to the experience for me. Of course, do whatcha want. I'm not one to preach to anyone. I'm a live and let live kinda person. I just know, for me, it's been a lot more fulfilling since I've actually tried to read a few of the blogs rather than just ripping through them. There are some really great thoughts floating out there in the blogosphere.

Alright, enough rambling. Thank you if you made it through this post. It's just a rambling, rainy nasty day so therefore it felt like a perfect opportunity for some rambling type of posting. Hope you are all having a good one!
The lost art
Still at home today from work. Tried to go in. I truly did. But my body has other ideas. So far it's winning...

Reading some blogs this morning, I found a really insightful post from Wacky Southern Housewife. She writes about the lost art of letter writing. It struck a chord with me. As a child, one of my most fondest memories was of my Aunt Phyl. She would write letters to me (she only lived 1/2 an hour away) and taught me the joys of both receiving and sending little missives. Often, she wrote me on a typewriter which always made me feel important. I hadn't even seen a typewriter, except on TV and here I was getting personal letters from one. It was always a reciprocal deal. She taught me how important it was to respond back. Every day, I would run home and check to see if there was mail to me. If I found a letter, with her scrawling handwriting on the front, I was over the moon!

Later, as I got interested in our family history, I found letters my parents had kept over the years. I have an incredible letter sent to my grandmother in 1921 from England, telling her that her young 4 year old brother had passed away. Another one, from Ireland in the 20s tells of them going 'dotty' from all the explosions around them. Still others, newer ones are stories of my Dad's travels across Canada at age 18 in the 1950s. He and his brother hitchhiked and worked their way, meeting people and learning about the vastness of our country.

As I grew up, I got very much into letter writing. In my teens, I was part of Penfriends International and a bunch of others. I even began my own little club, called 'The Mighty Pen" where I sold addresses to others for a small fee. It grew beyond my wildest dreams and I soon had over 1000 names. No computer databases, mind you. I dutifully typed them out on a typewriter that I had been given for my 16th birthday. I kept many of the letters over the years...something told me that they would be very precious one day. They tell the stories of people from Kenya, Fiji, the former USSR and many many other countries. Writing gave me an insight to these peoples lives, long before the internet was a reality.

Then the internet and email arrived. It opened up the world more than I ever thought possible. In many more ways than ever dreamed. But it came at a price. Letter writing slowed down. It took other forms. It evolved, I guess you could say.

Just before Christmas, I was sending a package to a friend overseas who was not on email. I wanted to write a letter. I looked high and low for that stationery I had packed away. I used to have so much of it. My family would always give me a present with some tucked in. But it now all seemed gone, lost... I ended up writing my letter on designed computer paper. I wanted to handwrite it - it was like I needed to still do something so personal that way. But my letter seemed messy. I guess I've lost my handwriting skills over time. I can type 90wpm but writing is now an effort, it seems.

I am reading a book called 'The Book Of Letters: 150 years of Private Canadian Correspondence". It's really kept my interest, in the same way reading my own family's correspondence does.

What is sad is that the kids growing up today will barely know the art of letter writing. I do plan to start writing Hayley, when she gets old enough, in the same way my Aunt Phyl did for me. I can only hope that it's received on her with such enjoyment as it left me as a young girl.

January 19, 2005
And then the rains came...

We know we live in a rainforest climate here. Those who live here either love it or hate it. I love it. There's something comforting to me in those rainy, grey days. It's like the world is recharging and cleansing itself.

But there's a limit. What's happening here right now is beyond a little rain. It's like Mother Nature just dumped the tarp on us. Last week, it was so cold. Negative temperatures for about 10 days. So the grounds froze. Just last Saturday night, it snowed again over top of the icy roads and the road conditions were treacherous. Then Sunday, somebody flipped the switch. HARD!

There's widespread flooding. One person presumed dead in a landslide. Many areas, including my world, under a flood watch. The area has been declared to be in a state of emergency. I live right by the mouth of the river. The good part is I'm also pretty much on the gulf and it can handle a lot more water than those living right on the river. Even still, I'm watching a little closer than usual.

I'm brought back to a memory from 1980, when we had a large flood. I remember the school closing and walking back home with the water in the streets higher than my boots, and I got soaked. By the time, I got home, our house was under about 3' of water. My brother was desperately trying to save all his stuff from his basement bedroom while his bed floated around him. He was 18...I can only imagine what must have been going through his mind. At 18, your bedroom is your haven. Your world. And it was all under water.

The neighbours all pitched in, and all 4 of my brothers were there sandbagging and trying to save our house. I was all chuffed because I was put in charge of looking after my little nephew, Ben. It was the first time I was ever allowed to look after him all by myself and I thought I was just sooooo cool. Of course, looking back, it was out of necessity rather than anything else.

For months, it seemed our house smelled wet after that. We lost most everything on our first floor. From my perspective, it was fun. We got all new things from insurance and it was like a big shopping spree. I'm pretty sure my parents had a different view.

Since then though, whenever the rains get heavy, I always check the river levels. Even if it did feel like a fun little party at 10, I am well aware it would not be fun now. I know the standards of pumps around here are much better than 25 years ago (urgh, is it really that long ago?) and the chances of flooding are less likely. But there are areas of my town currently under water...mostly the farm areas. Low lying agricultural lands that just don't stand a chance.

It's not ending any time soon. We had a few hours of drying out this morning, but the rains came again. We're expected to have another foot of rain before this is all over.

Mother Nature sure does seem to be having one hell of a hissy fit these days.
January 18, 2005
In just an instant...
Life can change so dramatically, in ways you never even expected. This is what makes this journey we travel so amazing. The radical way that nothing is ever a given, nothing is ever truly certain. It's the essence of what we crave...the most horrific times are often only a corner's turn away from the most joyous.

A terrible thing happened to my coworker today on his way into work. He was driving in during an absolutely torrential rainstorm and witnessed a very tragic accident. A man was walking in a crosswalk and was hit by a semi-trailer. Not just clipped, but run right over. Brian was right behind the semi, which did not stop, and witnessed the man go under the tires. The man was severely injured, with compound fractures of his pelvis and thigh bones. There were internal injuries...well, for the sake of not being too graphic, the internals were now external.

Still, the man tried to crawl to the curbs edge. In this state, his base instinct of survival still drove him. He knew he was in danger and he fought to save himself.

Brian turned his car in such a way to shield the man from oncoming traffic, and jumped out to go to his aid. He tried to phone 9-1-1 but kept misdialing he was shaking so badly. I should note that Brian is a partial quadraplegic. He's in a wheelchair but can walk a few steps. He knows injury, he's been there...

He held the man's hand and tried to soothe him while the paramedics arrived. The man began fading and Brian coaxed him to stay strong. He talked him through his screams. He laid in the wet street with the man, getting all soaked and just doing what he could. Another car also stopped and helped direct traffic.

When Brian arrived at work this morning, he was understandably a wreck. He was emotional, disjointed and so shaken. He kept saying over and over that the truck never even slowed down! In the aftermath, he didn't get any case number or information from the police but he says he doesn't want to know what the outcome was. I know he felt the man hadn't survived. Maybe he didn't. It wasn't on the news tonight though, so I can only hope that's a good sign. We sent Brian home....he was in no condition to work, and I can't even begin to imagine what trauma he's reliving in his head.

It got us all talking though. The girls in the office felt very strongly had it been them, they would need to know how the man was. For good or bad, to lend closure to the incident. The guys balked. Said that what was done was done, and knowing the outcome wouldn't change that. Interesting that opinion was so drawn on gender lines. What about you? Would you want to know?

I've been very introspective all day (well, really the past few days). Life is just so precious. I say it often, but it drove home today. Take Brian's life for example. He was in line to play for the NHL when a drunk driver hit him and put him in a chair. Everything he knew changed in a split second. There are so many stories and instances where things changed irrevocably on a dime. While we always carry that thought, there's still that -It won't ever happen to me- feel.
Maybe that's a survival instinct in itself. If we worry constantly that life could change, we'd never leave our houses. Somewhere in between, the key is learning to roll with the punches. Easy to say, not easy to do.

In lighter topics, what is it with this new BlogClicker? It's like crack! I just can't stop!!! I signed up at the BlogExplosion the other day just for kicks, and now I just can't slow down the surfin'. But I guess there's always worse things.
January 16, 2005
Not so long ago...

At dinner last night, we started talking about the differences between the generations and somehow, the conversation turned to the rationing of food and supplies that took place during World War 2, when Canada was still a Dominion and the world in general was a much different place.

The above picture is a scan of an unused ration card issued to my Aunt in 1942, when she was just 10. While my parents can't quite remember the exact amounts that were issued to each, as they were young themselves, the point was clear. How do you think our society would react now, being told they can't have whatever they want, when they want it? When we tend to forget what freedom entails and how much we take for granted in our material rich society, we need to take a minute and remember how much has changed in such a relatively short time.

My nieces were horrified at the thought. They hadn't even heard of rationing and certainly, couldn't comprehend not being able to just pop into Store X for a loaf of bread or some sugar, let alone all the processed stuff.

I did a little googling this morning....

Canoe has an article on rationing in Britain, which I assume was a similar programme to what we had here:

A monthly points allowance enabled people to buy whatever canned food might be available.

Everyone had their own ration book filled with coupons that were cut out by shopkeepers when the weekly rations were bought. Children came first for certain foods such as the very rare occasion when oranges were available.

Read the full article here.

Just a mere 60 years ago, such common, every day items such as nylons/stockings were very scarce and some girls, when dressed for dancing, would have their legs dyed with a light brown dye (some say cocoa) and a fine line drawn down the back of the leg with an eyebrow pencil to look like a seam of the stocking. An interesting document on rationing is written here.

I've grown up listening to stories of wartime blackouts, of rationing cards, of my mother's brother going to war and coming back married to an Irish woman. My Aunt Flo was the first wartime bride to arrive in our town. We lived next door to a man who survived a concentration camp in the Netherlands. My cousin's wife's family was interned at a Japanese internment camp near New Denver, BC. When my mom was 10, the war ended and the air-raid sirens went off in celebration. Unfortunately, at her tender age, she only thought that we were under attack. She jumped into a nearby ditch where she huddled under a bridge for nearly 3 hours until her father found her and comforted her. These stories are alive to me. They make history come alive and instead of just dry facts, I imagine how it must have felt to actually be there.

But my generation is not far removed. It was my parents and my grandparents. People I knew, people who made an impact on my life. I've seen my Uncle Bill's naval tattoo's, and heard his stories of close calls as a gunner in an aircraft. When I travelled to England, I became emotional seeing the white cliffs of Dover and I could envision the fighter planes returning to England on just no more than fumes. We spent some time in a pub in Cambridge, which had been a popular place for the servicemen in WWII. They would write in lipstick, coal, or whatever they had on the walls where they were going and who they were. They've now closed the room, but we were lucky enough to see it, and something about standing there, seeing all these long-ago written missives, you could almost feel the energy of these young airmen still sitting there.

When I was in Munich, I had the opportunity to go to Dachau. I have never been to a place that affected me so profoundly and I hope never to again. It was as if you could still hear the souls screaming. I felt physically ill, and even just mentioning that name now, I get such deep pain. Reading about such places doesn't do it justice, but to stand in the courtyard, and to see where it occurred...oh, I don't even have the words to describe it. I did not enter the crematorium or the gas chambers. I couldn't. It was too much.

So when I see things like Prince Harry's ill-planned costume or my niece's horror at the thought of being told what they could buy, it really concerns me. Have we really begun to forget? Not even a century later, is it really so far in our memories that our present generation cannot even contemplate this actually happening?

Vancouver, British Columbia
A patriotic Canadian full of visions of a better Canada, random thoughts and a lot of hot air. Who am I? A struggling writer and photographer, who looks forward to a better Canada. I read. A lot. I learn. A lot. I push myself. A lot. The world is a small place, and getting smaller every day. I'm proud to have friends in every corner of the earth, and abide by the old adage that there are no strangers, only friends we haven't met yet.

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