April 30, 2005
On this day in 1952
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My parents were married 53 years ago today in the local Anglican church. My Mom was just 16 years old, and my Dad 19.

They met in our small town a year earlier when Mom was working as a Popcorn girl at the Lulu Island Theatre. She turned to her friend right after and said 'That's the man I'm going to marry'. She was right.

My Mom had left school about a year before, after an industrial accident a the local factory cost her a finger. This was long before Worker's Compensation and age restrictions on working. When she came out of the hospital, she found she was far behind in school and since it was uncommon, at least at that time, for the girls to finish high school, she left. She worked on the family farm and got a job serving customers at the theatre so she could get into movies cheaper.

My Dad was in high school, and was planning to work in a bank when he graduated. In those days, a bank job was secure and something much sought after. He was part of the local community centre, the debate team, a public speaking team and had been instrumental in starting a local chapter of Teen Town. Teen Town was an association formed to give teenagers of the day a place to belong to. From an old newspaper article my Dad wrote:

Teen Town is an organization formed to give recreation to the teenage youth. This organization holds dances and other functions which give teenagers some place to go to, instead of hanging around a street corner. These dances and all other Teen Town functions such as beach parties, fashion shows, sports and others are run by a council of elected representatives. The rules are no drinking, no gambling, no smoking and no profanity. Violaters [sic] of these rules are tried by the council much in the same manner of our city courts.
Ahh, a simpler time then.

When he and my Mom met, they became inseparable. As my Aunts have said there was never any question that they had found their true love. When my Dad graduated from high school, he took a short trip hitch-hiking across Canada and realized he couldn't be without my Mom. He returned and proposed the next day.

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They were to be married in September, 1952. My Mom would be 17 by then, and he 20. However, it didn't quite work that way. He got his 'dream job' at a bank up in the Interior of BC. But he had to leave immediately. Again, in those days, my Mom travelling with him unmarried was unthinkable so the wedding was rushed up and they married on a Wednesday night. And with April 30 being tax day in Canada, my Dad actually dropped off his Income Tax forms in the mail on the way to the church.

The next day, they both left the family fold and moved up to Kelowna. What is now a 4 hour trip was then a 2 day trip. They had a difficult first year, as my Mom was desperately lonely and the winters were hard. The house they lived in was not properly insulated so it was not uncommon for them to wake up to frozen water in the toilet! They were just getting by so phonecalls were expensive and a luxury. My Dad's new job was looking after satellite branches, which meant travelling to small outlying communities for single-day openings of the bank.

When Mom was 19, she and my Dad welcomed my oldest brother. Soon after, he got a job back down on the coast and they were able to return home. They've lived in this town ever since.

They welcomed 4 sons and then me. My Mom stayed at home with us until I was 10. My Dad worked his way up to a Controller of one of the crown corporations before he inevitably got the 'golden handshake' at age 51. Thankfully, he has always been smart with money so he was able to retire young.

3 years ago, we had a very large celebration for their 50th. It was a fantastic event, made even more special that my brothers were able to put aside their squabbles long enough to make it very sweet. My Dad's family came up from California, and my Mom's brother also attended after a 28-year absence. We received the commendations from the government, local and federal and the church they were married in. The local newspaper wrote a great article.

Their love is incredible. 53 years later in a world that has changed dramatically, they have never lost that love. They still hold hands. Even as my Dad's deafness gets more and more profound and my Mom osteoporosis leaves her in constant pain, they are always there for each other. It is their example that has kept me holding out for true love. I know it exists. I've seen it first hand...is it so much to ask for?
April 28, 2005
My favourite time of year
When I bought this place, I knew the clematis in the backyard was big, but had no idea how incredible it was until it bloomed the following spring. It's the reason I love the season and this time of year when it is in full bloom, I know I made the right choice moving here.

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Little Alfalfa

Mini-Dude's hair is out of control these days. If he was a girl, it'd be in a bow but somehow doesn't seem to be an option. He'll be 4 months old next week. Time is just warping along.
April 27, 2005
Look at the sand!

I opened this picture and my first thought was that sand was incredible! I have heard it gets everywhere but wow. Second thought, while the tent cot looks kinda funky, I'm not sure how much I'd be impressed if that was my home for a year. But I guess that's one of the smaller issues to deal with.

Nice to see he's getting use of the MP3 player I sent him!

Found these bracelets today. Great way to show some support!
April 25, 2005
They did it!

My best friend and her man got engaged over the weekend. I am so very very happy for them both. They met at a New Year's party two years ago and have been such a great couple ever since. They give me the hope that true love can and does exist.

I wish them every ounce of happiness. They deserve it and then some.

These quizzes are brought to you by the fact I am exhausted from the spate of migraines. Good news? The doc put me on different proactive meds, so maybe I can possibly get off the daily intake of codeine supplements. Some people take vitamins, I take codeine. My goal is to get away from that this year, but so far has not been possible. Anyway, 'nuff whinging - here's some little quizzicles while my brain reloads.

Your Travel Profile:

You Are Very Well Traveled in Western Europe (64%)

You Are Well Traveled in the Western United States (53%)

You Are Well Traveled in the United Kingdom (50%)

You Are Well Traveled in the Northeastern United States (43%)

You Are Somewhat Well Traveled in Canada (40%)

You Are Somewhat Well Traveled in Australia (38%)

You Are Somewhat Well Traveled in Southern Europe (33%)

You Are Somewhat Well Traveled in the Southern United States (31%)

You Are Somewhat Well Traveled in Africa (25%)

You Are Somewhat Well Traveled in the Midwestern United States (25%)

You Are Mostly Untraveled in Latin America (7%)

You Are Untraveled in Asia (0%)

You Are Untraveled in Eastern Europe (0%)

You Are Untraveled in New Zealand (0%)

You Are Untraveled in Scandinavia (0%)

You Are Untraveled in the Middle East (0%)

American Cities That Best Fit You:

75% Austin

60% Atlanta

60% Miami

50% Denver

50% Las Vegas

Your Taste in Music:

80's Rock: Highest Influence
90's Pop: Highest Influence
Adult Alternative: Highest Influence
Progressive Rock: Highest Influence
80's Pop: High Influence
90's Rock: High Influence
Classic Rock: High Influence
Country: High Influence
80's R&B: Medium Influence
90's Alternative: Medium Influence
Gangsta Rap: Medium Influence
Hair Bands: Medium Influence
Old School Hip Hop: Medium Influence
80's Alternative: Low Influence
90's Hip Hop: Low Influence
90's R&B: Low Influence
Dance: Low Influence
Ska: Low Influence

April 23, 2005
Brain aneurysms
Well, not quite but not far from it. I've been dealing with migraines again. For the past 2 weeks, they've been really bad and today was brutal. It's 5:30pm and I'm just trying to get my feet on the floor. Chronic pain sucks sometimes.

But I did buy myself a little back-to-work present. A new laptop! My old one was getting a bit sad. The hinge was broken so you had to prop up the screen with a book, and there was a break in the cord so you needed to put a glass or something just so, to keep the cord tight. Not to mention it's been crashing for no apparent reason for some months now. I bought it just after Hayley was born so it's about 3 1/2 years old.

My new baby is a Presario R3440, with 80GB hard drive and all the bells and whistles. But lots of work getting it up to speed. Bookmarks, contacts, mail. I was really concerned that I would lose all of Todd's emails but thankfully, I figured it out and they made it through intact. Funny how certain things become so incredibly precious.

The second day of work went better than the first. I can now say the person I'm replacing is just one of the friendliest people I've met in a long time and we've bonded already. We went out for a vendor meeting yesterday and had to stop by her place to let her dog out. So I spent a half hour baking in the sun while she puttered around her house. Can't complain! The work itself is fascinating. I always love learning new things and Im finding the technology behind railroad systems is incredible.

With that, it's time to try once and for all to get this pulsing mush of a brain a rest and try to get rid of the pain. More when I'm back to myself.
April 21, 2005
The PM Speaks (and other daily rants)
at 4pm PST? Sure, go ahead and continue to alienate the BC population. Sorry, dude, I was at work when you changed your mind on the timing so missed it completely.

So he wants time? More like a time machine....

Seriously, even if he didn't know people were sucking the pennies out of the coffers left right and centre, as the former Finance Minister, he doesn't make a good impression. "Yeah, I had no idea what cheques I was signing, Officer...nobody told me it wasn't on the level".

If you hold the purse strings, you should at least know what it's opening for. It's not fine to apologize later and repent with promises of extra vigilance. It didn't work for the executives of Enron and Worldcom. It most certainly should not be acceptable for a government.

Maybe we need to take a lesson from Ecuador.

In lighter notes, did you know you can now email the Pope directly? I wonder if the 78 year old Pontiff will be anything like my 75 year old Aunt with the computer. "What do you mean - Control Key?" "The computer is telling me I have a virus". Yeah, like they'd ever even get him close to the keyboard. A thought occurred to me that it was lucky they were able to come to a conclusive vote on April 19. Can you imagine what the media would have gone with if it had been April 20 - the birthdate of the most infamous German?
Day One
Well, first day at the grindstone after a 10 week sabbatical and it fully met and exceeded my expectations.

I have an office with a DOOR! No Les Nesman for me, thank you very much.

I have a window too, but it overlooks the shop floor. Steel is not all that estetically pleasing.

I get home now 2 hours before I was at the old job. The commute rocks!

Seriously, the job is good. The people fun to be around. And it's very interesting and challenging! I arrived early by about 15 minutes (still trying to figure out the commute time). After being briefed by HR, my cell rang and it was Todd.

As much as I love the guy, I find it so frustrating that the dude does NOT read his emails all that well. I had told him not to call me during 5:30pm and 2am his time. He read it as only call between those times. So a slightly embarrassing moment but after explaining to my boss that he was in Iraq, I was pleased to say they were very supportive. The HR lady told me "You tell him to call any time he likes.", which I thought was sweet.

He's back at Arifjan at the moment anyhow, which makes me feel a wee bit calmer than when he was up at Balad. Just not too happy about the idea of him travelling between the two, but not much I can do about it. He had promised to call at least every 48 hours but that hasn't really worked out that well. But I shouldn't complain...at least I do hear often.

So tomorrow I will be getting a tour of the shopyard and the steelworks. I'll be in steel toed boots and a hard hat. Should be an experience!
April 20, 2005
Blackfive has a great listing of milblogs up today. Most I had heard of but there are also quite a few hidden gems in there. If you want a perspective of what's happening in the Sandbox, there's no better way.

I know it helps me as I support Todd in his deployment and the better I understand what's going on, the better I can be there for him.
April 19, 2005
Snapshots in Time
Just reading all the blogs mentioning the Oklahoma City Bombing. Wow, 10 years ago. It seems in some respects so recent, and in others, a completely different universe.

Michelle Malkin has a interesting piece, even reminding us of the haunting photo of the little toddler, Baylee. That photo has been forever etched in my memory, and I'm sure many others as well.

Brian at Audience of One writes about his memories and asks where we were on that day.

Well, mine aren't entirely profound, but it's interesting to note it was at a time of my life when my whole life changed. Not because of the bombing, but it was just a series of things that happened that year that made me grow up. I was 25, thought I knew it all....

I remember watching the news of the bombing from my bed. I had just undergone neuropathic surgery on my right arm. A fairly major surgery, and I was just about to start aggressive rehabilitation. At the time, I had no use of my hand and hadn't been able to work for months as the nerve in my arm died, and my hand became partially paralyzed. To go through any nerve regeneration is painful, and as anyone who has gone through knows, extremely frustrating. I had to relearn everything, from tying shoelaces to stacking blocks.

When I awoke from surgery on April 6, the surgeon explained that he was able to repair the tendon and the nerve, but I would never have a pretty wrist again, nor would I resume full function of my hand. I am proud to say he was wrong. I refused to give up during the next few months, even as painful as it was, and regained full use. While I don't have feeling in my wrist to this day (and trust me, that sucks, especially when you touch a hot plate), I have no lasting effects other than the 8" scar. It took me a long time to accept how it looked. For ages after, I took pains to wear long sleeved shirts and hold my arm at my side. My boyfriend, who very soon after became my ex, called it my "claw". An incident comes to mind of someone's ill-thought out comment - when I was reaching for my change from a store clerk, she blurted out 'What did you do there? Did you try to kill yourself?". Even if I did, why would I tell her?

I was also planning a wedding at the time. My boyfriend and I had been together for 9 years, had recently purchased an apartment together and while I hadn't moved in yet, was planning to once I recouperated. Unfortunately, he had become bored of having a girlfriend who couldn't do much with a partially paralyzed arm and was already dating his next girlfriend. A fact I wouldn't know until a couple of months later.

For me, thinking about the Oklahoma Bombing reminds me so much of my turning point. It was a time of lost innocence for me. In the world, in my own life, in my love life. Nothing was as it seemed. I learned over that year, which continued to be my Annus Horribilus, that while just when you thought the worst was happening, it could get even worse still. But I also learned how to stand on my own two feet, to trust my instincts and to believe in myself and in the greater good.

Now, 10 years later, I'm pleased with where I've travelled. I've done more than I ever could have dreamed of, when I was that little girl a decade ago. That girl that only could imagine marriage and babies. I'm so much more than that, and I will be ever thankful for having a year such as 1995 to teach me what life can truly be.
The Grim Reaper in a Firetruck
This Washington Post article details the attack on Camp Gannon on the Iraq-Syrian last week:
"It was like a movie," he said. "It reminded me of 'Lethal Weapon.' The smoke was all there and then he just rolled through it, just like in the movie." Smoke "just rolled off the windows. I couldn't believe what was happening."
Read the whole article here. And another take here.

Scary stuff.

I'm glad Todd's calling me so often. Or at least often enough that I don't get too worried.
I just got off the phone. My days of couch surfing are over. Or at least for a few months!

The job I interviewed for last Friday panned out. I start Thursday as a Buyer on a 6 month contract for a company that manufacturers railroad tracks. Steel, it's all about the steel.

Ack. I have so much to do and how am I going to keep up blogging?

Seriously, though, it is right at the perfect time. I've been incredibly bored these past few days and have been obsessively cleaning, which is just not me at all.
Spring has sprung
Last night, I had the sure signs that spring is definitely here. The Raccoon is back. I used to think they were cute and sweet...adorable little fuzzy creatures. Then I found out. They are evil. And the family of them that lives in my neighbourhood is anything but adorable.

They find delight in scurrying around my backyard at night, freaking the dog out and crapping below my bedroom window. More times than I can count, we have found piles of their little decorations underneath the window and trust me, in the summer, it is NOT what you want to smell when you try to get fresh air.

Once, in one of my more embarrassing moments, I had to take a sample to the vets when Molly was sick. I scooped it up, brought it in and was distraught when the vet called later in the day to say it had tested positive for several parasites, and even Beaver Fever. Another $100 for further testing revealed that while my dog was fine, the raccoon had seen better days.

I was on the phone last night when it peered in the window at me. Sort of an eerie 'We're BAAAACK!'

Maybe the coyote will get some lunch instead. One can hope. Ah, the joys of nature.
April 18, 2005
When help isn't really help
Borrowing from Quotulatiousness, a link to a little humourous advice from a member of The National Guard when sending those packages to deployed troops:

I. Please, NO MORE MAGAZINES DATED BACK TO 1980. The average person keeps old magazines for 29 weeks before they throw them out. They're useless to us. Why don't you just mail us your garbage instead? If we wanted useless news, we'd go ask a local National. I'd actually like to see you read one of those old magazines to get your news info, instead of watching CBS or CNN.

Read the rest here. (The rest of the blog is worth the read too...)
So in Saudi Arabia, if you're caught taking "immoral" photos with your camera phone, you're looking at 1000 lashes or 12 years in jail. Pretty much any photos are frowned upon.

However, in Iran, a dentist who raped over 60 of his patients while filming himself in the act faces just 99 lashes and 10 years in jail. He should get just that for the pick up line alone:
"I have been in love with you since I set eyes on you. You are a nice girl and you wear the (Islamic) scarf properly," he had said.
Cabin Fever in the Media
I came across an article today in the Belfast Telegraph that paints a very bleak picture of the situation in Iraq.

In the article, Patrick Cockburn write:
Ironically, one reason why Washington can persuade the outside world that its venture in Iraq is finally coming right is that it is too dangerous for reporters to travel outside Baghdad or stray far from their hotels in the capital. The threat to all foreigners was underlined last week when an American contractor was snatched by kidnappers.
Obviously this man has not found the beauty of blogging. Of hearing the voices outside the media. What about Iraq The Model, who consistently gives a view from inside the country, and over the last few months has been able to look at the bigger picture.

Cockburn goes on to say:
Despite the elections on 30 January, the US problem in Iraq remains unchanged. It has not been defeated by the Sunni Arab guerrillas but it has not defeated them either. The US army and Iraqi armed forces control islands of territory while much of Iraq is a dangerous no-man's land.
Strawberry Fields, though has a different take here, where she speaks of the jubilant celebrations over the new president.

Another paragraph states:
With US networks largely confined to their hotels in Baghdad by fear of kidnapping, it is possible to sell the American public the idea that no news is good news.
Hmmm...so there's no other way to get news than through the MSM? I'm not naive enough to say that it's not a dangerous place...it will be for some time, but things are definitely improving. Even if it is one inch at a time.

Take NIW's view...she dreams of the day she can return to her beloved Iraq. As she returns to help rebuilding, she is taking an active part in her dream.

It may be a few years before anyone can see the full picture, but I am positive that looking back in years to come will shed a completely different light on the picture than what the MSM and reporters like the above would have us believe.
April 17, 2005
The Purest Form of Happiness

There is nothing in this world that makes me smile more than seeing a baby laugh. Lex has learned not just to laugh, but to giggle this week. I haven't said much about him lately but that kid definitely has my heart strings pretty tightly. He's already 14 lbs. and such a strong little man. Loves nothing more than to stand on his own two feet, and if he could he'd love to walk. Of course, at just over 3 months, there's no chance in that! So we hold him up, standing, and he laughs like a champ.

His sister was only 15 lbs. at a year old. Hayley's extremely slight and tiny (still wears 12 months clothes at 3 years of age!) but Lex will be nothing of the sort. Such a chubby little guy - already suffers from a bit of dunlop. (belly dunlop over the diaper!)

It's times like these I wonder if I will ever have one of these myself. For the longest time I said never. Mostly because of never having a strong enough relationship or feeling safe enough to even consider it. In my mind, for it to be right for me, I need a strong family unit. A husband and a good situation. It hasn't happened yet, but who knows what the future holds? There's definitely a little broodiness in me.

Todd and I had a long conversation about kids today. Specifically his little girl. He's so worried about how she's fairing with him gone. It's hard. His ex has different parenting values than he does so being far away, he feels like he has no control. Of course, he also has to find a happy medium himself. He's only able to do so much from where he is. I told him that he's got to remember too that Bethany has enough to deal with...her Dad not only being overseas but also dealing with her parent's divorce too. At 10, it's a tough age. Ahhh...it makes me feel so useless - I wish I could do something more that just listen.

The Year In Pictures
A slideshow of the Best Photos of 2004 definitely worth the time to watch. Check it out.
April 16, 2005
Who'da thunk?
Noticed Kate at The Last Amazon, there's another quiz:

Your Linguistic Profile:

65% General American English

15% Dixie

10% Yankee

5% Midwestern

5% Upper Midwestern

Huh. Not sure what to make of it. A lot of the questions I used none of their suggestions.

For example, when the sun is shining while it's raining, do you call it "The Devil Is Beating His Wife"? I have never heard that one, but a South African friend of mine used to call it "A Monkey's Wedding". I always thought that was cute.

Thanks for the words of encouragement in my last post. Updates - some good, some bad.

For the bad, the interview didn't go as well as I would have hoped. I could do the job and was well qualified, but I just felt soooo....um, judged. Yeah, I know that's what interviews are about, but it wasn't a nice feeling. The lady that I would be replacing is not exactly brimming with joy of leaving her job (she's due with her first baby in early May). They said they'd call...I'm not holding my breath.

Good news. Todd called. I woke up to a voice saying "You are such a freak, good thing I love freaks". The romantic moment over, we're back to bantering. I can do that.
April 14, 2005
Plugging along....
Well, I may (fingers, toes, crossed) have an opportunity for a job. I got a call back for a position that looks quite promising. It's within a half hour's drive, no bridges and they use all the systems I'm familiar with teaching so I hope! Spent the day researching it and getting to know who they are and tomorrow's interview hopefully will go well.

I am somewhat ready to go to work again, but at the same time, as the spring weather continues to improve, part of me wonders if I can't just relax a wee bit longer.

So in true shopaholic fashion I spent the day shopping for interview clothes. Sure, I already had some but you can never have too many clothes. I am going to cringe the day I start co-habitating with someone else. I have all 3 of my walk in closets filled, as well as 2 cupboards. There isn't any room in here for another person.

I am still kicking myself over a poorly worded phonecall with Todd the other night. It doesn't matter if you're significant other is right beside you or a million miles away, every relationship has it's trials. Especially when you have a mouth that shoots off before you think. He called me the other night, just before bedtime (and my defense being I had just taken some migraine medicine) and tried to sing me a love song. I laughed and told him not to quit his day job. [cringe] For some reason, I thought he was asking me to name the song, sort of a lyrics question, but then I realized when his response was somewhat wounded, that he was being serious and trying to be romantic. Doh! It has been far too long since I was in a relationship, and to say I have commitment issues is an understatement. I can't seem to bring myself to call him my boyfriend (except when I type it), nor say the "L" word. Do I feel it? You betcha. Big time. He's my first thought in the morning, my last thought at night and most every moment in between. I can't imagine my world not being enriched by him. So why can't I tell him that?

My friend had very wise words last night. She told me 'You have to take a risk sometimes to find the reward.'

So now I haven't heard from him in 48 hours. After hearing every day practically for the last 3 weeks, and with this screw up, it seems like EONS. He's probably just crazy busy with his work but I just want to hear his voice again so I can tell him was a jerk I was.

Ok, in my surfing today, I heard from Plain Jane that it's Blog Forward day. A day to pick a couple of your favourite reads and send some joy their way.

I've mentioned a couple of these before, but I just want to link Stephie's Thoughts. She lost her very dear friend, her poodle Jerrica today. Jerrica was with them over 17 years and passed on with Stephie by her side. For anyone who has a pet or has lost a pet, you know that pain is exquisitely painful. Take a second and go give her a comment hug.

A couple of the newer places I've found myself visit:

Al's Girl - A really friendly girl who's going through the support side of being a military girlfriend in Alabama. She recently celebrated a milestone - 300 days until her sweetie is back in her arms.

The Deployment Diary is another military wife-blog I love to read. Shannon's a really good writer and I enjoy her style.

Senior Thinking - Mike runs a thoughtful, introspective blog and always has something interesting to say.

And with that, I'm back to my book...
April 13, 2005
Wanna laugh?
Check out this.

(It's worksafe, but there is music)
Single Transferable Vote
On May 17, the voters in BC will have a chance to chose to reform the current voting system from the typical system (most votes wins, etc.) to the Single Transerable Vote system.

This system, as described in Wikipedia here, is a preference voting system designed to minimise wasted votes in multi-candidate elections while ensuring that votes are explicitly for candidates rather than party lists. In its most basic form, it works by allocating an elector's vote to their highest ranked candidate who has not already been removed from contention through either election or elimination. The article goes on to explain the quota system, how votes are counted and some of the loopholes than can exist. Definitely a worthwhile read.

It is currently in practice in the Irish Republic, Scotland, Malta and Australia. The Northern Ireland Elections office has a description of their process here. And provides a great FAQ.

Scotland provides this explanation, along with some of the possible negatives.

I guess my first thought is if it is such an improvement over the typical system, why don't more countries adopt it? Why only 4 countries in the entire world?

A quick search found the following links for the system:

STV For BC - Vote Yes-highly recommended!
Double Blind Webblog
Why You Should Vote Yes

What You Can Get Away With
Fair Voting BC

And against:
Vote No to STV
Community NetIdea
Kootenay Cuts

My concern as an average voter is that the system is far more complicated and takes some serious processing to understand. While I Ham taking the time to do the research, I'm not so sure others will. Take my own father who tonight during dinner announced that he won't vote for something he doesn't understand. My Dad is a learned man, someone who held the helm of a major crown corporation for many years and he says he finds most of the information very confusing. If he's feeling that, so are a great many others.

What I do like though is the more balanced counting to allow for a more equitable, less top heavy "popularity contest" election result.

Att the moment, I am cautiously optimistic. This does seem like a worthwhile system and I think it could be a great change in how we look at chosing our candidates. Something certainly needs to change, and while change may be difficult to grasp at times, it's worth at least keeping an open mind. It's just such a paradigm shift it takes a little to get one's head around it.

However, given my current riding, I am not sure it would even make a difference.

(updated - a commenter has corrected me on this and actually helped me understand the system a bit better. He notes: STV would most definitely make a difference in your (Richmond) riding. Under the current system, the Liberals will probably sweep all of Richmond despite only getting (say) 60% of the total vote. But under STV, with the three Richmond ridings combined together into one (and possibly amalgamated with a couple of South Vanvouver or Surrey ridings), it's likely that the Liberals would only get (say) 2 out of 3 seats or 3 maybe 4 out of 5 seats in the new riding. STV would (in all likelihood) allow the non-Liberal minority in Richmond to elect at least one person to represent them.)
Canada: Strong and Free
So Preston Manning and Mike Harris have released a document, called Canada: Strong and Free detailing their suggestion of privatizing Canada's medical system.

It's 77 pages long and you can find it here in PDF format.

I am in the process of digesting it. I went in to it cringing. The idea of the federal government getting out of the medical system on the surface scares the hell out of me. I am a person with medical issue that will be with me for the rest of my life. I have a fairly serious form of IBD as well as persistent migraines that slot me into the "chronic pain" category. I grew up listening to the stories that my parents had to scrape together payments for the doctor from next to nothing and that socialized medical is all that saved them. Conversely, my uncle in the US became bankrupt due to the lingering costs associated with his daughter's accident and ongoing quadraplegia.

So I went in with a fairly closed view. We need socialized medicare, but the question is how. Right now the system is burgeoning and failing the people that need it most. As much as is obviously not working, it makes me nervous to think what would happen if we didn't have it.

My first thoughts? Given that I'm only on Page 21 of 77, I have miles to go but am intrigued enough to open my mind to the idea. There are some thought-provoking statements related to the downfall of our society over the past few decades. The poor voter turnout and how we really need to work towards getting the average person involved in making this country a better place.

Just off the top, a couple of quotes that got my attention:

"Freedom cannot exist without personal responsibility"

"Canada has not yet reached it's zenith - the best is yet to come. And we believe this will always true. Canada is such a land of opportunity that the future can always be bigger, brighter, and better than the past, no matter how great our acheivements have been."

What I do know for certain is that the situation in our medical system today cannot continue unchecked. Serious changes must occur before more people die. The staff is overburdened, the equipment old and the demand just too great. Of course, maybe if government funds weren't being funnelled illegally into party coffers, there may just be the money available to fund the system properly but that's a whole other can of worms.

Just to give an example I know first hand where the medical system is lacking, my niece is currently on a wait list. She has a ganglion on her wrist, which of course is not considered critical nor life-threatening. It has grown so large now that it is cutting into the nerve and causes her severe pain and numbness. There are days when she can't pick up her baby and on those days, she needs us to help her. Her doctor has referred her to a surgeon but the earliest possible appointment for just the consultation is September! From there, we can likely expect several more months after that. She will not die, she will not have long term life effects from this, but she does have a lesser quality of life right now because of this. It should not take up to a year!

I urge everyone in Canada to take the time to read this report. Don't let what will likely be tossed around and ripped apart in the media sway your judgement. I am certainly not saying that I agree with all that is written - haven't even finished reading it myself yet, but it would be a disserve not to at least take the time to read the report and decide for yourself.

My Unitarian Jihad Name is:

Sister Machine Gun of Courteous Debate.

Get yours.
It's funny...every time I start talking to someone and mention that my boyfriend is in Iraq, they look at me like I've just said something in a foreign language. There is the predictable moment of silence as they ponder the words going through their head and then there is one of two responses.

The first one is the most typical. Compassion and a genuine interest for what is going on. I have not yet found another Canadian who is in the same situation as me....dating a deployed US soldier, although those that seem to understand best are the ones that have had dealings with the Canadian military.

The other response, unfortunately, is pure ignorance. I find myself being a bit of ambassador, telling people of the positive happenings and the truth behind what the mainstream media tells us. But of that group, there are the people who just refuse to believe there is anything good. And these conversations never end well.

CaliValleyGirl has a great post up this morning about her encounters in Germany with the same issue.

A few incidents over the last few days though have my hands thrown up in the air. I emailed an ex-coworker yesterday to try to rekindle our friendship after I've now been gone a little bit. In the email, I updated her on my relationship with Todd.

The response? "how long is he going to be there? has he had to shoot anyone? how long is Bush going to keep the troops there? why did he go in in the first place? That's the million dollar question."

How does one answer that? In a calm, non-inflammatory manner? Well, P, when I talked to George this morning, he told me November 23, 2005 at 9:47pm. He went in there in the first place because he talked to Todd, and his buddies and they were bored with what they were doing, so they figured WTF. Let's go play with our toys.

It is a never-ending conversation. One that I seem to have to engage in a couple times a week. While it gets entirely frustrating, it only strengthens my resolve. CaliValleyGirl talks in her article about a person who is writing an article on the army but had never actually met anyone actually involved. This is what gets me. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, I just wish that those would do their homework first, before spilling out ill-informed comments that can be easily disproved. If they read and researched first, and still had that opinion, great...more power to them. But to just have a case of verbal diarrhea just annoys me. I get tired of hearing my voice defend the same points over and over again.

On the weekend at the shower, I pulled out pictures of Todd in his uniform, holding his gun. I admit I do sometimes do this for reaction. Especially with my family. They never know what to expect of me and I was told recently they'd be surprised if I ever did anything conventional. A compliment really....at least I can think for myself. One sister-in-law looked down at me and whispered 'They don't come back the same you know...' This comment just riles me. Well, that's it then. Let me just pack up the bags and walk away. Who stays the same? Life changes everyone and no one gets out alive. The other SIL just sneered 'Never saw you with an American.' Huh? Still shaking my head on that one.

The other roadblock I'm facing right now is with AT&T cards. I can't buy any locally and every site on the internet requests a US address. I have also heard there is a way in the US to buy a AT&T card and just fill it with money periodically. I tried a few months ago, but gave up finally when Todd asked me to. However, I've decided to give it another go...for nothing more than a little project to maybe learn a little about it.

It costs Todd about twice what it would to call a US phone number, and while he insists it's not a big deal, I do feel I should shout a few phonecalls once in a while. Especially when he's calling daily, if not twice a day, of late.

After unsuccessful attempts to find a website, or a local representative, I finally received a very cheery note from the AAEFS (Army and Airforce Exchange Service) giving me a toll free number I could call to see how they could help. So I called. The phone number not in service in Canada. Argh!

Yes, I could give in and either use a friend's address in the US or take a drive across the line and call from there. But I am determined to figure out a way to do this. Who knows? Maybe I'll even end up teaching someone something new!
April 12, 2005
Putting things in perspective
From a soldier's story of returning home:
Easton! Easton . . . your Daddy's here!" she said in an electrified whisper.

My son's head snapped around. The excitement and disbelief on his face is something I will never forget. I motioned him to me and he ran into my open arms. There was no hiding my tears, and I didn't care to. This was the day I had waited for.

Grab a tissue and read the rest here.
So that's what it means...
to be instalanched. Wow. I thought I knew but 3,000 visitors yesterday pretty much eclipsed everything I could have imagined.

Of course, all of this would hit during the WORST migraine I have had in probably a year. I am still amazed I was able to write the post I did the other night after injections of Imitrex and copious amounts of codeine.

Today has been full of job leads and interviews. Who knows - maybe my job hunt tide is turning?

To those new to this blog or not sure what 'Turning 30 and a half' is a reference to....I'm 35. I didn't like it when it first happened, so I figured I was 30 and a half (decade). Much easier to take...especially when the cougar-word is getting close. Blech!

And now for more fluffy bunnies. More when my brain stopped slowly imploding.

Your Love Style is Storge

For you, love and friendship are almost the same thing

And your love tends to be the enduring, long lasting kind

(You've been known to still have connections with exes)

But sometimes your love is not the most passionate

Leap before you look, and you'll find that fire you crave

April 11, 2005
The Red Ensign Brigade #19

As one of the newer members of this ever-growing group, I am proud, and a little daunted, to host the 19th running of the Red Ensign Brigade.

This entry will cover our postings from March 28 to April 11, and covers some major events which will have repercussions for much time to come: the saga and demise of Terri Shiavo, the passing and subsequent funeral of Pope John Paul II, the fallout after Kazemi's murder, as well as the biggest story to hit the Canadian blogosphere in a long time.

The AdScam/Gomery Inquiry controversy over it's publication ban thrust the bloggers into a very bright spotlight. Some even made news in the mainstream media, but we all were forced to look at what we do. Was blogging worth going to jail for? Could we really be charged? Everyone had to answer that one for themselves. All the while, we knew that merely linking to a certain Blog-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named could very well have us answering some serious questions. I felt this was a coming of age for the Canadian blogosphere and the prospect is exciting. We speak at the Red Ensign Brigade of making Canada a better place, and now we may actually have a chance to do so. But it begs the question, will we get internet access in the slammer?

Who am I and why do I align myself with the group? Well, I'm a born and bred BC'er, the part of the country that often feels overshadowed by our own homegrown political scandals and the feeling that the population base in Eastern Canada tends to decide our fate long before we get to the polls. It's a world of apathy and cynicism. But that's just the easy out. I believe that blogging gives us a great opportunity to make a difference. To get the word out and to take responsibility for change.

I am a 2nd generation Canadian. My grandparents are a unique blend of Scottish, Welsh, English and Irish. My father's parents met at the Edinburgh Castle, when my grandmother - an indentured servant at a wealthy house - allowed herself to be swayed by a charming Welshman's tales of a better world and a better life in Canada. They sailed on the Teutonic, in 1912 just before the ill-fated Titanic. For a while, they settled in Asquith, Saskatchewan where my grandfather opened a mechanic business but given the Depression, being paid in chickens and eggs only went so far. Not to be deterred, they came to the West Coast where they became very involved in the community, starting up the Marpole community centre which still exists today - although no longer the little house with a piano. They raised my Dad to make the world a better place, and that in Canada, it was possible.

My mother's parents were of similar ilk. They came to Canada in 1922 after Ireland became a difficult place to live. They knew Canada held promise for their future children and they were right. They gave to the community as volunteers, and as foster parents they saw over 60 children have a better chance in life because of their toils.

My parents will have been married 53 years this month, and raised their four sons and one daughter to appreciate what Canada is. I have had the wonderful opportunity to travel to 4 different continents, and I know that where I live is one of the most beautiful in the world. We have all the ability to make it the best on earth, but to let it slide due to cynicism would be a shame. Apathy has been borne of a general mistrust in the government and a feeling that change is beyond our means. I also live very close to the US border, which gives us a feeling of often straddling the two countries. Our federal government is based in Ottawa, which often feels like it's in a different country itself, however, I think nothing of flipping across the border several times a month. (And yes, I use my passport!)

Almost a year ago, I was fortunate to meet someone who made me stand up and become more vocal about my beloved Canada. Ironically, it was a member of the US Navy, who is currently deployed in Iraq. During our many conversations, he has become a lightening rod for my patriotism. I have become alarmingly aware of our lack of international stature, our flagging military and the political problems that often find our country the punchline of some joke. It made me realize more than ever how far we have fallen from what we stand for, but how much promise we hold. Finding the like-minded souls who fly the Red Ensign flag in the blogosphere reminds me that we do have a chance and there are many people who have not lost hope.

I want to live in a country that I can once again be proud of.

And with that, I am pleased to present the Red Ensign Brigade XIX :

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Rue of Abraca-Pocus shares with us her memories of the Pope on the event of his passing, and shows her blessed rosary. She's also been doing some interesting reading (a few books I wouldn't mind checking out myself), and has been trying her hand in gardening (something that is completely beyond me...plants live in SPITE of me, rather than because.)

It's been a busy time at Absinthe & Cookies, where Ith hosted the 2005 Gathering of the Blogs for Tartan Day. Lots of great Scottish themed posts, and well worth spending some time perusing. Being 1/4 Scottish myself, I hope to join the party for next year. In other news, she relays that one of my most favourite TV shows, Lost will be ending in a crazy cliffhanger. Reminds me I need to post the rest of my pictures from the set in Hawaii last year. On the Gomery Inquiry, she has some great thoughts with about the insanity that surrounded the ban while it was in effect.

Frozen in Montreal's Paul hasn't had a whole lot of time lately, but did weigh in on circus that became of the Shiavo situation. Where were these people years ago if they cared so much?

It's difficult to sum up Angry in the Great White North in one paragraph as there is just so many worth posts. He examines the election scenario, legal woes for the Liberals, the same-sex marriage debate and the popularity contest in Ottawa,

Dirtcrashr of Anthroblogogy asks the question - Is there Social Justice under Communism? and introduces us to Elimidate - Baghdad Style. Makes me wonder if they have Nielsen families in Iraq.

Our own milblog, Argghhh! has another take on the publication ban that bears reading, and solicits opinions on the concept of citizen soldiers. It's also worth taking a look at Why We Are Here, a look at the happenings of the last year in Afghanistan.

Babbling Brook's Damian, our self-proclaimed Ontario redneck, makes a point that the Liberals should reap what they sow, and that the debate over freedom of information in this country is far from over.

Andrew at Bound by Gravity, the home of the always interesting and not-to-be-missed Quick Hits, thought he might have gotten into a bit of warm water lately when he picked up the phone. He asks us to remember the loss of one of our Great War veterans, our true heroes of the country. I agree with him and was lucky enough to meet Victoria Cross recipient, 'Smokey Smith' some years ago - these are who our children need to know about. Lastly, but certainly not least, he gives insight to the latest Medal of Honor Recipient, Sgt. Smith - a name we should all remember.

Huck of BumfOnline has had some thoughts about the Gomery inquiry, Galiano and PM Martin. He also has some very interesting angle to the Ahenakew trial, that I agree with. Being a close-minded idiot isn't necessarily illegal, but making it into a media circus gives it much more power than it deserves. On a lighter note, he leaves us with a post on the Young-less Juno Awards.

Dana & Bob at canadiancomment remind us why NealeNews is such a great source of information and also to support the Canadian seafood industry. Lots of great posts about the Shiavo case, Gomery inquiry and Ahenakew here too. They also put the Kazemi story into a different and unsettling perspective.

Rebecca of Doxology has been underandably grieving for the much loved Pope John Paul II and reminds us "All people of good will are mourning for the loss of our Pope. He truly was God's gift to us." In a short but sweet post, she weighs in on the publication ban. Correct, indeed.

Dust My Broom's Darcey gives us another thought-provoking take on the Sea Shepherd folk. And he's been tireless in arguments against the publication ban.

Alan of Gen X at 40 has his say about the possible aftermath of the sponsorship scandal, and the first poll after the news became public. On a lighter note, he asks us to consider what is truly difficult about certain edible products.

James of Hammer Into Anvil, a serious Dr. Who fan, talks about political corruption not just being limited to the Federal level, and laments on some poll results.

John The Mad eulogizes Pope John Paul II and examines his path to Sainthood. He also has something to say about Gomery easing the publication ban.

Glenda of Just Between Us Girls asks us "Have you ever seen the top blow off a presser cooker?". It's a great spin on the Gomery inquiry. In honour of Tartan Day, she has this to say: "All men die, but all men do not truly live until they toss the weights, the stones, the hammers and the caber."

Keith at Minority of One weighs in on the publication ban, and the scandal itself. As he so rightly posts, da proof is da proof.

Jason of Musing weighs in on the Kazemi murder and the government response. He also has some good points on Terri Shiavo and euthanasia in general, not to mention Canada's Watergate.

Chris at Myrick examines the efficacy of a publication ban from outside of Canada, and educates us on the Panda pandemic.

Nathan at Updates from Seoul weighs in on his views of the late Pope, and gives us a beautiful photo tour of Changgyeounggung Palace.

Curt of NorthWestern Winds examines Canada's tolerance, and Pope John Paul II's effect on the world. Curt also reflects why it's important for political parties not to confuse policy goals with the policies themselves.

Alan at Occam's Carbuncle chides Gomery on his ill-advised publication ban, and gives us a lesson in vocabulary.

Nicholas at Quotulaciousness ponders the Rights in Canada vs. the US, and Ahenakew's motivations behind accepting the Order of Canada.

Ray, the Raging Kraut reminds us of some very important points regarding the Terry Shiavo case. He also urges Gomery to get some focus in respect to the publication ban.

Paul of Ravishing Light has some good points on the publication ban here and here. He also gives us some food for thought regarding Russia today, as well as the recent demonstrations against Bill C-38.

Peter at Rempelia Prime questions our response to Iran's treatment of Zahra Kazemi, and chides the Alberta Human Rights Commission for picking a fight with the wrong guy. While at it, he has some questions about his own human rights.

Rightjab has been quiet, but did manage to bring our attention to the fact that idiots come in all forms.

Jay at Shiny Happy Gulag introduces us to the frightful goings-on of the Republic of Pas-Ceci, a must-read.

Stephen Taylor documents Zahra Kazemi's injuries and Canada's belated response to Iran, asks some pertinent hypothetical questions on the publication ban, and muses about the possibility a snap election.

Chris of Striving Against the Opposition brings us up to date on the Kyoto agreement, and looks to the future after the sponsorship scandal.

The Freeway To Serfdom's Jay brings up internet censorship in China and has a great quick summary of Canadian blogs up.

Kate at The Last Amazon has something to say about the soft handling of Zahra Kazemi's case, and reminds us that "It is never wrong to be on the side of freedom - never."

The gang at The London Fog, who got some MSM spotlight this session, have been very prolific of late. Lisa points out some flaws in comments made by Warren Kinsella, and also talks about the Ahenakew trial. Mike makes a good point about the freedom of speech. Mapmaster has this to say about Liberal kickbacks wonders if Venezuela will become the next Zimbabwe? Basil questions the latest MP pay raise.

The Mad Sister, one of our newest members, has been suffering from a bit of blogger's block, but did manage to indulge us with letting us get to know her better.

The Meatriarchy, between commenting on the beauty of fresh meat and the Ahenakew trial, has this to say in the winding down of the publication ban and the week that was in the Blogosphere.

The Monarchist honours Pope John Paul II, and brings light to the possibility that Britain's true monarch may not be as it seems. Being our resident monarchist, he has this to say over the recent nuptials of the future King. And last but not least, a good take on the publication ban too.

The Monger extolls the virtues of Google satellite maps, the non-virtues of the publication ban. Reminding us that things can always be worse, and of the tangled web we weave, he pokes a bit of fun at Mr. Dithers.

VW of The Phantom Observer has continued his concise and informative summary of the MP's positions here and here on Bill C-38 (Same Sex Marriage). He muses over the ramifications
of the publication ban on the blogosphere and the failure of the ADR system for the Residential Schools. And I was remiss in the earlier edition, but I have to bring your attention to VW's rendition of the The Golden Age Red Ensign!

Ben at The Tiger In Winter pondered taxation without representation, and sympathizes a bit with Paul Martin in the wake of the Gomery's publication ban. Now getting his feet on the ground in Cambridge, he has this to say about Russian programme.

Tipper, who graciously hosted the previous Red Ensign #18 at Tipperography finds that making life's decisions can get pretty difficult, but it's not something we should abdicate to others or allow someone else to take on. And when the new American rules on passport requirements for travellers come into effect, life will become a little less simple for many on both sides of the Canada-US border.

Turning 30 and a half - oh, that's me - I've talked a little about my opinion of the publication ban and was also fortunate enough to see Whoopi Goldberg speak as part of the Unique Lives and Experiences series. I have my own memories of the Pontiff to share as well.

Temujin at West Coast Chaos, is recovering from a little unexpected encounter with a wayward light fixture, but still has something to say about the upcoming provincial election. He also reminds us the of the greatness that is Neil Young.

Honorable mentions go out to the following, who are on the bench for this episode of the Brigade:

Chris at Bluetory.ca, Ben of Skeet Skeet Skeet, John of Hypothesis.ca, the group at Enter Stage Right and Thomas of The Green Baron are on break from blogging.

Candepundit last posted backin September. At the time, he was pondering the pro's and con's of watching the beheading video of Eugene Armstrong. I can only hope he found the answer he was looking for..

ChrisCam is taking a break to enjoy his new family member.

Dr. Funk at Musings of a Canadian Slacker has been a bit quiet lately.

We say a heartfelt farewell to Chris at Taylor and Company. He has left our blogging world, but will be missed.

April 10, 2005
The shower that was

I hadn't seen my niece in 3 years. And even at that, it was only about 20 minutes in the middle of a party I'd organized so it wasn't exactly quality time. Before that, I think she was probably 15. She turns 24 next week.

She has grown up a lot. I feel like I barely know her! But then I guess I really don't.

This wedding is for the ages. It is off the pages of a magazine and is costing a pretty penny. Her mother advised her to just take the money and elope but she would have none of it. Such is her dream, and far be it for us to chose for her. A girl's dream of a big fancy wedding can be so powerful.

Had to laugh though. Upon looking at the 'granny pants' she was given as a joke gift, she exclaimed 'Do people really use this for the tummy slimmer function? What does it do?' I told her I will remind her of that in 10 years.

On the length of marriage, she commented that most marriages don't really last any way but at least you get a great party and cool gifts. I surely hope she was just teasing, but her Aunt responded, 'Don't expect this if there's a NEXT time!'

This wedding will definitely be an experience. I look forward to it!
April 09, 2005
If they can do it...
So can we.

That's what I told my Mom today.

If 200 Heads of State can go to the Pope's funeral and put their differences aside, surely, we can do the same for my niece's shower tonight.

My family has been feuding for years. I still don't quite understand why, except that after having my peacemaking hand slapped one too many times, I gave up. Yes, my Dad wasn't always there and travelled a lot. Yes, my Mom liked her wine just a little too much, but aren't we supposed to accept our parents for their flaws when we get to be adults?

My niece is from the 'other' side of the family. Everyone's quick to say it's not her fault that we don't talk, but the tension building over this shower tonight has our little world spinning.

It's being held at the queenpin of Evil, my sister-in-law, Judy's. Judy hates my mother. I don't use that word lightly. She made it quite plain after marrying my brother in 1985 that he could chose her family or his but it wasn't really a choice. He only keeps in touch once in while with my Mom now, but it's just when he's at work. He calls from the firehall when no one's looking. Sure, he shows up when people get sick...sometimes. If it works and he can get away from Judy. Maybe I'm giving him too many excuses. Who knows? I haven't talked to him in eons.

My Mom has been getting increasingly nervous about going. If only they knew what torture they put her through! I mentioned that my windshield wiper was damaged, and she tried to take it as an out. 'Oh, guess we can't go then. It'd be dangerous to drive'. Yeah, not likely.

Most of the strife in my family comes from the women. The men really get along quite well. My brothers, if they hadn't gotten married, I'm sure would be the best of friends. When Ron had his heart attack, all his brothers came to visit, called often and were geniunely concerned. Of course, not one of the wives did. My brothers married all strong, opinionated women. I am the baby by a decade so my voice was never loud enough or clear enough, and by the time it was, the damage was long done.

So tonight we will go to my niece's shower. And if I have anything to do with it, we will get out of there without insults flying. Of course, if Evilgirl decides to make a comment about my mother's drinking again, gloves are off.

Should be a blast!
April 08, 2005
The Whoopi talk
Last night was another Unique Lives and Experiences night. We were fortunate to have Whoopi Goldberg to lend her unique view on the world. She spoke to a packed house at the Orpheum, just a little under 3,000 people. Arriving on stage, she made it obvious she was not one to just do what was expected. She ignored the podium totally, and proceeded to walk around the stage instead. Unfortunately, it meant I couldn't get a good view of her but at the same time, I have to say this was one of the best talks yet.

Introduced by the host as the veteran of over 80 films, and many other projects, she laughed as she walked out saying she always feels strange being introduced. 'Hearing me introduced is always weird...I always think - Wow, I'd like to meet that person and then realize it's me.'

She joked that she loved coming to Vancouver, as it's a great place to flee the US when things get too much. A lot of her talk hinged on aging and how life has changed so much over the past two generations. The evolutionary jump where babies arrive into the world with keyboards and a web address! So much has changed, not just physically, mentally but in the world. It's a crazy place out there. She cautioned on how the world today lets us forget connecting to other people and that taking the emotion out of connecting opens a bit of a Pandora's Box. In response to some of the world's problems today, she advised that sometimes we need to look backward sometimes in order to go forward.

It's strange...I had totally expected to see a class clown, a sort of stand up routine with maybe some political content and was pleasantly surprised to find a lady who had a great head on her shoulders and was someone I would love to know.

I found the question and answer section the most informative. The presenter was a newscaster from CTV, but Whoopi thought she had said SCTV. A completely different animal!

Something I didn't know about her was that she doesn't fly. It's been about 10 years now, but after several 'messages' of why she didn't belong in the air, she realized it was time to take the bus. On one occassion, a man actually passed away while seated beside her. Because of in-flight regulations and the fact he could not be declared dead while midair, he was left in his seat as was she. The presenter jokingly asked if they had to draw chalk around them!

In response to how she got her name, she responded "A little flatulence problem!". It was originally Whoopi Cushion (pronounced with a French accent). Goldberg is a family name - religion knows no colour and her family has been Jewish for some generations.

She's a shy person, as most comedians tend to be. Great in front of audience, but not so much one-on-one. Her childhood was molded by attendance at a Catholic school staffed by "penguins", an older brother whom she loves dearly and a Mom who was the most influential person in her life. Her mother taught her from a young age that you can either please a lot of people and be popular, or please yourself and be happy and surrounded by geniune friends. A very strong lesson and one that I strive to follow myself. "I go to bed ok", she smiled.

Upon being asked what she would like to give to her grandchildren, she replied that Granny is flawed, and that they should feel they can come to her with anything and she will always be honest.

On faith, she sees all faith as multi-layered. Her belief in herself on one level. Her belief in God in another. The ability to make changes is within yourself, and to remember that how can someone judge when God does not judge. She reminded us to know what we like, and never let someone tell us what to like. Profound words.

A question was asked of who she would invite to a dinner party of deceased people that had influenced or made an impact on her. It took her a while to come up with it, but what a dinner party it would be. Yul Brynner would be her date. Pamela Harriman (former ambassador to Britain) , King Tut, Shaka Zulu, Abe Lincoln, D.W. Griffith and John Kennedy would be there. She added Martin Luther King would be there, but he would show up late of course.

Something that impressed me is that while she is well known for doing charity work, she refused to name them. It's anonymous, she said. I respect that. In this day of self-promotion, it was refreshing that she didn't use this moment as a platform.

I was very impressed and am more a fan than ever. While I've always enjoyed her comedy, I had never really looked deeper. In fact, I was a little reticent to go last night as I was tired and wasn't in the mood, but left feeling very upbeat. She has had an amazing life so far, and I'm sure will continue to amaze us in the years to come.

The last in the series will be on May 3 and it will be Della Reese speaking. This has been my first experience doing the Unique Lives and Experiences series, but I'm definitely hooked. It's a two-fold experience...not only do I get a peak into some very amazing women's lives, I also get to reconnect with two ex-coworkers. We get together for dinner before the show, and as I don't get to see them every day any more, it's fantastic to chat and catch up. I always drive home in a happy mood. I'll be sad when these are over...and can't wait until next year's series is announced.
War stories
So those who frequent the milblogs likely know this, but CaliValley's guy is ok. Tough, long day for her. I'm glad she had friends around her that could support her when she needed it.

I've been blogging about how Todd has been different lately. Angry, tense, not himself. I even let it all get to me the other day, but never for even a second did it occur to me to remove myself from this situation. I'm way past the last exit on this one.

Well, he finally was able to talk about it last night. We had a very long heart-to-heart. Likely the longest conversation since he arrived in the Sandbox. He was recently in a convoy that was attacked. It was close. No one was hurt, but it was just way too close. I don't know the entire details but even if I did, I know better than to post them here.

It brought a lot flashing through his mind. Things he didn't think bothered him came back. Crawled into his brain and wouldn't leave.

It explains much. The phonecalls where he would just ask me to talk about anything. He took my advice though, and had a talk with some of the support people there. I knew he was limited in what he could say to me, and although I would do all I could, without details, I was limited too. They've given him a 3-day leave to decompress. He was most excited about the fact he could have a beer. 'It's not like I need alcohol, but I just miss the taste of a cold beer.'

This is a learning experience for me. I am thankful for getting into blogging, because it has helped me so much on how to be there for him like I want -need- to be there for him. He said to me "I don't know why you picked me to be in your life, but I am so glad you did." Such a strange comment. I wouldn't see it that way at all...more like what does he see in me?

I talked to my Mom today about how her brother was after he returned from WWII. She had mentioned once about his 'shell shock', as it was called in those days. There was an incident a few months after he returned that showed how much he was carrying around. He was walking down the stairs in the house when his wife tossed some laundry down at him. It hit him in the head and he freaked. Started screaming, and dove to the floor with his hands over his head. Soon after, he stopped speaking about the war altogether and gave his medals away.

I just wish I could be there more for Todd. I do what I can, but words only go so far. I called my travel agent today and told her to start figuring out costs for me to get to the base when he comes home. I intend to be there. It's the least I can do.
Link letters
I'm short on time today..oh, who am I kidding? I tried to stay up for the funeral last night, and failed miserably. I ended up fitfully dozing all night and am paying for it today. Not only that, we saw the aftermath of a horrific accident in front of the theatre that just won't leave my mind. A 25 year old man ran in front of a fully-loaded cement truck. It was the last thing he did.

So I thought I'd just link some interesting blogs I've come across today, until later when I'm more awake and can do the Whoopi Goldberg talk properly.

Neurotic Iraqi Wife muses how different things could have been, one day many years ago.

And if there was ever any question of how far we've come in this world, have a look at this. Gemmak posts a bit of a 60's era sex ed guide. A little bit is pretty much all you could take!

Scarlett has a great post up on the wonder that is kudzu.

Another Beslan? A scary thought at InTheBullPen.

Strong and Free gets it right on the mark in regards to the Air India trial disaster.

American Soldier shares some of his favourite photos. I plan on doing something like this soon too, but have a bit too much else going on - will hopefully next week.

You just never know when the next level of desceit will be breached. An insurgent disguised as a CBS cameraman.

My Mom said today that she couldn't understand how a family can raise a child to become a suicide bomber. Little Green Footballs has a good post on how it doesn't always work that way.

Introspection has a child's eye view of how to support the soldiers.

And one of the Red Ensigners, The London Fog, gets recognized by the MSM.

OkieOnTheLam has his latest set of his parent's love letters up. I have really enjoyed these. A fantastic link to the past.
April 07, 2005
Release the hounds
So can the partial lifting of the publication ban be considered a win for the blogosphere? Could it be true? Did the overwhelming response from the public and the complete waste of time to police it actually make a difference?

Lots of news today. Lots to digest. I'm still reading and digesting. I see the Conservatives are being, well, conservative in their decision to push the non-confidence vote. Makes sense...no point in acting in haste while the opponent is intent on hanging themselves with their own rope.

And speaking of dogs, looks like Michael Jackson's gonna have to have some sort of dramatic entrance into court again to counteract today's testimony. I used to think the man just was mentally ill. Now I think it's worse than that. Why any parent would sacrifice their children by letting them stay there is beyond me.

Off to see Whoopi Goldberg speak tonight, the 4th speaker in the Unique Lives and Experiences series. I plan to actually take notes this time so I can remember some of the better quotes properly.
April 06, 2005
I am a pretty tough person, although those that know me very well, know that beyond my armadillo-shell exterior, I crush like an overripe banana. Today has been one of those days.

First off, the news about CaliValleyGirl and the heli crash in Afghanistan.

Then my most favourite milblogger's company experienced their first combat loss.

I feel so sad for them. The unknown. The known. It's all too big.

Todd has been going through some stuff lately and I do my best to lift his spirits. This last week he has called twice daily, but kept saying that he couldn't tell me what was wrong. Only that it wasn't what he signed up to do.

I got a long email from him this afternoon. Turns out instead of the non-combat job that I thought he was doing, he has changed companies. He is now working as a shooter/armed guard on the convoys.

My whole world feels shaky. I thought he was safe. Why did I let myself believe that it wasn't dangerous for him? I am such a fool.

I phoned a friend who I thought would understand. Her husband is Nicaraguan. At the age of SIX, he was taken out of school, handed a gun and told to go to war. SIX YEARS OLD!!! He remained in the army until the age of 11 when his family was able to spirit him out of the country, but he still suffers from PTSD. It's been mentioned before, but something we don't really talk about. But today I asked her what it was like. How was it to live with someone who has seen hell.

Her response was not what I expected. She told me to cut the ties. Walk away. That if she knew now what she knew when, she never would have stayed. He's done some absolutely unspeakable things during the night, when he was asleep.

I can say one thing for sure. Even though I don't know where this is leading, it will not be me that walks away. I made a promise to stay and I will. No matter what comes back on the other side. I don't intend to break that promise and do not say things I don't mean.

Some months back, I found another blog by accident of the aftermath of not keeping promises. I had already made my choice at that point, even if he and I barely knew each other then, but reading the heartbreak in that blog solidified my position. I will not walk way. That's for damned sure.

It is just a challenge finding that place I need to be at to deal with this. The unknown is very hard to deal with.

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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Turning thirty and a half
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