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  • It’s the most wonderful time of the year

    November 18th, 2011 she Posted in Frothing At The Bit, Random Burbling, Save Us From Evil 1 Comment »

    A lovely woman I know, let’s call her Kikki, has issued a challenge to Edmontonian’s to put away our “bah humbugs” and do more for others this holiday season. When I read her original challenge, I had to shake my head. Not because I don’t think it’s a good idea. It’s just an odd concept to me to accept a “challenge” that my husband and I would consider parts of our daily lives.

    Years ago, hubs and I realized that we often have more than we need. We might not have a fancy car (our “youngest” vehicle is approaching 9 years old) or a big house (790 sq feet) but we have a roof over our head, clothes on our backs, and food on our table.

    Long ago we stepped away from traditional Christmas gift giving and started giving to charities rather than giving presents. We adopted families and organizations rather than attending parties or spending ridiculous amounts on items we’d likely never use.

    And we don’t stop at an arbitrarily defined “holiday season”. We realized that the need for support doesn’t end when Christmas wrapping paper goes into the trash. It exists all year long. So we do our best each and every month to make a difference, however small, in other’s lives.

    Somewhere along the way we’ve realized that “there but for the grace of go I…” and started trying to live our lives to honour the sentiment. Perhaps it’s because of the time I spent living in what are politely termed “developing countries” or the time my husband has spent Peacekeeping and Peacemaking across the globe; we’ve realized just how incredibly fortunate an act of chance – our births in Canada – have made us.

    As we get older, we’ve watched our “friends” pool decrease to the point where we’ve surrounded ourselves mainly with like minded individuals. Most of our friends and acquaintances are actively involved in non-profit organizations. They plan and deliver meals to the homeless. They run dog rescues. They raise funds for women’s rights organizations or to put books into school libraries for underprivileged children. They build schools in developing countries. They fund community centres and gather diapers for teen mothers. They pass out backpacks with supplies to homeless community members. These people we choose to spend time with do something amazing for others on a regular basis and their efforts need to be celebrated.

    We’re going to continue on our daily lives as if Kikki’s challenge doesn’t exist. Because for us it’s not a challenge; it’s simply the right thing to do. As 2011 draws to a close and 2012 looms before us, I’m asking everyone else to join us in making helping someone less fortunate than you something you do all year long. Stop using “it’s the reason for the season” as an excuse to only participate in giving once a year. Do something each and every month.

    Bah humbug!

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    Out of the frying pan and into the fire

    December 2nd, 2008 she Posted in Save Us From Evil 1 Comment »

    I’ll probably be reamed over the coals for this but from a competancy standpoint of view I think Gilles Duceppe is the best of the available options to have led the proposed coalition. Despite representing the separatist party, he strikes me as the most reasonable and moderate of the bunch. Having watched him in the House of Commons and in the English and French language debates over the years M. Duceppe has always impressed me when compared to his Liberal or NDP counterparts.

    Now this endorsement of M. Duceppe doesn’t mean that I necessarily want to see the current gov’t topple or the coalition succeed. Just that I’m disappointed that Dion has been selected defacto leader of this little group.

    Having lived and voted in the Maritimes, Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta I’d like to think that my opinions have been formed after a broad range of exposure to the realities of life in multiple parts of the country. One thing I have always known is that while a great number of people might live in southern Ontario and in Quebec, what is best for those regions is often in direct conflict with the rest of the country. My greatest concern surrounding the proposed coalition is related to their planned bail out package for the auto industry. I’ve yet to be satisfied as to how bailing out this industry is in any way a national strategy. It seems to me to be pandering to a small section of the electorate while leaving the rest of the country to rot. Perhaps someone can explain to me how this package will benefit fishermen in the Maritimes or farmers in the prairies? How will it improve the lives of construction or telecommunications or IT workers outside of Ontario or Quebec?

    While possibly historic I can’t fathom how the proposed coalition can be good for Canada as a whole. My Canada includes the Maritimes and the west. I’m beginning to wonder if Dion or Layton can say the same.

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    Celebrating Christmas in the May?

    November 28th, 2008 she Posted in Save Us From Evil, Those Who Volunteered 2 Comments »

    A few days ago the government decided to send Griffins to support the Chinooks in Afghanistan.  The announcement was made on Nov. 26 – the day Drew left for Calgary.  Yep, that’s right.  He was home less than a week before heading out again.  He’s due back next week and the first group is heading over to Afghanistan on Monday. Luckily for me he’s not in the first group.  However, as it stands at the moment, he’ll be gone before Christmas – so I expect the house to be a complete mess for the next few days weeks months.

    Today I get a phone call that began with “I just wanted to call and tell you  before you heard it on the news.” Never a good sign.  A necessary action none the less.  The call came in just before noon and at 1:30pm today the Edmonton Journal already had a story posted on their website indicating that 30 members of 408 TacHel are shipping out starting Monday. The good news is that Drew isn’t leaving Monday.  The bad news is he’s leaving just a few weeks later.

    After a year of playing hurry up and wait – no planned vacations and living day-to-day and week-to-week because you never knew if/when the call to go would come – it seems that time has begun moving far too quickly.

    I strikes me that we’re not ready and yet when it comes to the big things we’ve been ready for months. Still, silly thoughts run through your mind. The dogs need to go to the vet. Can he bring some “dirty civy” clothes with him? The garage isn’t finished. I don’t know how to mix the gas/oil blend for the snow blower. My exams are in two weeks. The house is a mess. He’s not packed. Pen? Paper? Camera? iPod? Laptop? Who’s going to go watch Gordon Lightfoot with me? The extra insulation isn’t in the roof yet. I need an eye exam – who will drive me if I need drops put in? Are our emergency contact people still willing to fill the role?

    Normally people shipping out have months to get themselves in order and some time off to spend with the family before they go. It looks like that won’t happen this time round. I don’t know the individual situations of the 30 crew who leave in three short days.  I do know that Drew doesn’t expect to have any time off work as he and a few other stragglers ramp up to leave.

    One thing that I do hope is that we’ll get some time together before he leaves – and I’ll get some time to myself once he’s gone.  It’s one thing to get used to someone being away for a short trip it’s completely different getting used to the idea that you’ll be “single” for a 6-9 month period. So, if you’re calling to get together for dinner or to drop by and chat, this might not be the best time.  Sure, we’re friends and all that, and yes, we do love to see you, but with an unknown time left before he leaves we’d certainly appreciate it if you understand if/when we say no to whatever you’d like to plan and choose instead to stay home.

    On the bright side – yes, there has to be a bright side at this stage or we’d all go crazy – we’ll be skipping Christmas until his return in the late spring. I no longer need to run around stores looking for the perfect non-charity oriented present.  I’ve already got a tonne of the charity related ones ready to go ;)   I can wait until the great boxing week sales and do all my shopping throughout the cold and dark winter.

    I don’t suppose I can get sympathy points on my final exams in 2 weeks considering the circumstances? Nah.  Didn’t think so. Guess it’s a good thing I registered for an extra class next semester. I’ll be even busier with school than normal and have lots to keep me occupied.

    Now please excuse me, I have to go take my phone off the hook.

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    #mumbai

    November 26th, 2008 she Posted in Save Us From Evil, Where No Flan Has Gone Before 2 Comments »

    From Tweetsgiving to terrorism. So go the days of our lives.

    This morning I woke up excited about the use of Twitter as a tool for advertising a charitable campaign. As the day wore on and news began to filter out of Mumbai, Twitter is once again proving it’s unique position in social media circles. News of the Mumbai attacks are reported to have begun surfacing on Twitter an hour before the first reports began appearing in mainstream media (such as CNN).

    Having spent little time outside of work in Mumbai, I can’t begin to express how heartbroken I was when I learned of the latest attacks.  While I don’t have a close of an emotional (or personal) connection to Mumbai as I do with Bangalore or Manila, I can’t help but cry at the thought of the suffering and terror now gripping the city.

    We didn’t stay at any of the hotels mentioned in the news, but we did take pictures of the Taj Mahal hotel when we were touring Mumbai and again when we were on our way to visit Elephanta.

    Learn more about the attacks:

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    Dona Nobis Pacem

    November 6th, 2008 she Posted in Save Us From Evil, Those Who Volunteered 4 Comments »

    Dona Nobis Pacem
    Dona Nobis Pacem

    For the past few years Mimi has sponsored the Blog Blast for Peace.  My past globes and comments are here and here. This year I take comfort from the symbolic repatriation of Canadian soldiers who fought and died in WWI. We should never forget the sacrifice of those who have gone before us and whose efforts have helped build the world we live in today.  With Remembrance Day just around the corner and the ranks of veterans who carry the memories forward growing thinner each year, it is especially important to acknowledge the message they have worked so hard to promote – Never Again.

    An odd message to appear on the blog of a soldier’s wife.  However, as I’m sure many past soldiers also believed, he and many current serving military members still hold fast to the belief that they fight so that future generations will not have to. The things we take for granted here – ample food, fresh drinking water, basic literacy skills, freedom to worship in a religion of choice, freedom of expression, etc. – are still lacking in so many places.  So much still needs to be done.

    Two nights ago we bore witness to change in the Western world.  The first non-white President was elected in the United States of America.  This action has fostered great excitement and placed a huge weight upon Mr. Obama’s shoulders.  Let’s hope he is up to the challenge.

    There is still much that needs to change in the world.  While the US was willing to accept a non-white President, gay marriage bans were passed in California, Florida and Arizona.  People continue to be held back by the unwillingness of others to embrace love and change and to accept others for who they are, not who others think they should be.  Families are still struggling to make ends meet and curable or controllable disease still runs rampant in many parts of the world.  Women still struggle to be considered equal.

    We continue to hope.

     

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