July 29, 2010

Canadian Eh?

Once in a while someone does a beautiful job of describing a Canadian, this time it was an Australian dentist.

An Australian Definition of a Canadian
In case anyone asks you who a Canadian is . . .

You probably missed it in the local news, but there was a report that someone in Pakistan had advertised in a newspaper an offer of a reward to anyone who killed a Canadian - any Canadian..

An Australian dentist wrote the following editorial to help define what a Canadian is, so they would know one when they found one.

A Canadian can be English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. A Canadian can be Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, Arab, Pakistani or Afghan.

A Canadian may also be a Cree, Métis, Mohawk, Blackfoot, Sioux, or one of the many other tribes known as native Canadians. A Canadian's religious beliefs range from Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu or none. In fact, there are more Muslims in Canada than in Afghanistan. The key difference is that in Canada they are free to worship as each of them chooses. Whether they have a religion or no religion, each Canadian ultimately answers only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God.

A Canadian lives in one of the most prosperous lands in the history of the world. The root of that prosperity can be found in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which recognize the right of each person to the pursuit of happiness.

A Canadian is generous and Canadians have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need, never asking a thing in return. Canadians welcome the best of everything, the best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best services and the best minds.

But they also welcome the least - the oppressed, the outcast and the rejected.

These are the people who built Canada. You can try to kill a Canadian if you must as other blood-thirsty tyrants in the world have tried but in doing so you could just be killing a relative or a neighbour. This is because Canadians are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, can be a Canadian.

Please keep this going! Pass this around the World. Then pass it around again.

It says it all, for all of us.

July 25, 2010

Perhaps the World Ends Here

Wonderful Jennifer from At The Table In My Sunroom said that  she thought of me when reading the following poem and that it perfectly compliments my blog. Thank you so much Jennifer -- it gave me shivers -- it's beautiful.

Perhaps the World Ends Here

by Joy Harjo 
The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what,
we must eat to live.
The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the
table so it has been since creation, and it will go on.
We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe
at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.
It is here that children are given instructions on what
it means to be human. We make men at it,
we make women.
At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts
of lovers.
Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms
around our children. They laugh with us at our poor
falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back
together once again at the table.
This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella
in the sun.
Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place
to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate
the terrible victory.
We have given birth on this table, and have prepared
our parents for burial here.
At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow.
We pray of suffering and remorse.
We give thanks.
Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table,
while we are laughing and crying,
eating of the last sweet bite.
"Perhaps the World Ends Here" by Joy Harjo, from Reinventing the Enemy's Language. © W.W. Norton and Co., 1998. 

Serenity Now

I came across this gem that "lorocker" from Canada has created on youtube. It's a re-arrangement of Seinfeld scenes into an action-thriller movie trailer. The song playing throughout is "Vicious Traditions" by the Veils. The second song is "Scorponok" from the Transformers soundtrack. Even if you're not a Seinfeld fan you have to appreciate the genius.

July 20, 2010

Just One of Those Days

So I got up this morning, hopped in and out of the shower, dried off, got dressed, put on some makeup, dried my hair and took the dog out. Came back in, gave Cass her treat (She has come to expect a treat for going outside and coming back in. It's a great trick -- you should see it.), opened the cupboard, got down a glass for milk, went to the fridge, got out egg whites and feta cheese (The Boyfriend and I have decided to try the Caveman Diet -- or at least our own modified version of it.  Ours includes wine as we believe cavemen would have eaten rotten grapes, got a little buzz and figured out the whole fermenting thing), found the omelet pan, turned the burner on, poured the egg whites in and crumbled on the cheese.

I then turned to grab my glass and SMASHED my friggin' forehead into the corner of the friggin' open cupboard door. I could feel the bump erupting instantly. I went to the bathroom mirror and sure enough -- not only was there a huge bump on my forehead, but there was a big dent in the middle of it. Very becoming.

I made it to work with just a few minor annoyances (overflowing bus, bad drivers -- the normal things). I stopped for my morning coffee, showed my bump to the baristas and laughed at my folly. Got to the office and chatted with a few colleagues.

I just came back from the washroom and here's what I saw. My bump has a big splotch of dried blood on it, my left eye is noticeably twitching (it has been for four days now) and I forgot to apply mascara!!!  OMG!  I left the house without mascara?  I can live with a bleeding gash on my forehead, even the eye twitch, (both of which make me look a bit insane) but no mascara?  That's just scary.

I have three options.  Option 1 is donning sunglasses and rushing over to the drugstore to buy a new mascara (though I just opened a new one on the weekend).  Option 2 is donning sunglasses, closing my office door and hoping no one knocks.  I'm leaning towards option 3 which is blaming it on the Caveman Diet, as side effects may include being bonked on the head, twitchy eyes and a general lack of personal grooming. (Seriously -- notice the twitch in her right eye!)

July 18, 2010

We've Come a Long Way Baby????

I know it might be a little early in the day on a Sunday (depending where you're reading from) to be thinking about work tomorrow, but take a moment to consider how fortunate you are (if you're a woman) to have the job you have.  Thanks to someone who was obviously a visionary, the article below opened the many doors we women have walked through and landed us in the jobs of our dreams -- and the needed rest breaks to restore our confidence.  Grab your lipstick girls -- feel good about yourselves.  Yes, even you husky girls.

July 13, 2010

I've Got a Favour to Ask You

A colleague came into my office this morning and asked if I'd take the emergency calls tonight.  He's taking a motorcycle training course and tonight is the night they do their first road ride.  I laughed and said ok, but that he'd owe me.  He said he'd do it for me but I reminded him that when I took my motorcycle training two years ago, I was on-call and he didn't do it for me.  He said that he would have if I'd asked.

Seems so logical, but here's the thing.  I'd never ask.

If it's my job to do something I just do it. It would never dawn on me to ask someone else to do something I was supposed to be doing.  I would plan my social life to accommodate my work schedule, if need be.

This started me thinking about asking others for help (which I have a really hard time doing this).

I'm not interested in playing the martyr and don't moan about how much I have to do, or how burdened I am. I don't avoid asking for help so that people will say "OMG, look how dedicated/committed/capable Lianne is." I don't think others can't do the things I do, as well as I do them (ok, ok...but not all the time).

So why can't I ask for help?

I do know that I don't want to appear to be needy or weak, or incapable of juggling the many balls life throws at me. I do know that others have enough to do without having to do things for me too. I do know that if I've invited you over to my home, you are a treasured guest and I want you to sit back, relax and enjoy yourself. And I do know that if I really, really need help (like the time I was stuck up to my knees in a sink hole of muck), you will definitely know I need help.

I'm curious if this is a gender thing.  Or if it's an only child thing.  Or if it's not a thing at all and that's just the way it is.

What do you think?

July 12, 2010

You Know You're Getting Older When...

About a month ago a new barista showed up at my regular Starbucks. He was very cute (black spikey hair, dark brown eyes, cute smile) and very young (20 -- if). He poured me a tall Pike Place and asked if I'd like my receipt. I said no but he handed me one anyway and said "It's the survey". The survey receipt entitles you to a free beverage of your choice, after you've completed it. I took the receipt and completed the survey that afternoon. The next morning I handed my receipt for my free tall Pike Place to the same new barista and wouldn't you know it, up popped another survey. And another free beverage.

From then on,  the barista and I had a special relationship. He'd look for me, we'd make eye contact and smile at each other. I said I only wanted him to pour me coffee as he always gave me free ones. He asked how my weekend was and we commented on banal things like the weather. And he remembered my order. (You might not think this is anything special, but I have been going to this Starbucks for over a year and know the other baristas by name -- and they can never remember I want a tall Pike Place. They can remember the tall non-fat two extra shot mocha with no whipped cream at 200 degrees, but they can't remember "coffee").

Last week, after several weeks of pleasant exchanges, I was in line behind an older man. My cute barista looked right past the man to me and said "What can I get you". The older man huffed "I'm next" to which my barista said "Yes, I was asking you". The older man turned to me and said "Well it looks like he only has eyes for you." We all laughed.

And I thought --

"Aw, he likes me?  Must be because I remind him of his mother."

July 8, 2010

And Baby Makes Three

My darling hairstylist Amy is preggers with her first baby. She is due in September but has promised me that she will only take three months maternity leave.  It's going to be a very difficult time; sleepless nights, constant crying, excessive whining --  but I'll try not to annoy The Boyfriend too much with my complaining and carrying on.  I have no other option than to await Amy's return.

Despite the fact that she's leaving me and my grey hairs to fend for themselves I'm happy for her and want to give her a few things to make her journey into motherhood a beautiful thing. 

In 2001 I discovered Anne Lamott and her wonderful book Bird By Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.  As I always do, when I find a writer I adore, I bought everything she'd written.  One of her little gems (they were all great) was Operating Instructions: A Journal of my Son's First Year.  A single mom with a bit of a drinking problem (and not joining AA anytime soon) she discovered parenthood wasn't all she'd been led to believe.  She'd been lied to -- and she wanted to set the record straight. It wasn't all sweet smelling baby heads and tender bonding moments.  It was actually alot of crap (literally), it could be totally discouraging and sometimes you really did feel like throwing the baby out with the bath water.  Not having kids of my own, this book only confirmed my decision.  But I felt her pain and I wanted to warn all of my baby-inclined friends. Every time a friend said she was pregnant, or that a friend of hers was pregnant, I rushed out, bought a copy, thrust it in their trembling hands and said "Read this!  Read this before you no longer have time to read, or brush your teeth, or shower."  And they all read it and laughed and wept.  And had more babies. 

So Amy gets a copy.

I'm a knitter and over the years have knit stuffed animals for all my pregnant friends.  I asked for their favorite animal so have ended up knitting a cow for Michelle, a penquin for Corin, a pig for Karen, a sheep for Brigitte, a cat for Gerda, a bear for Melanie, and an elephant for Parm (Parm wasn't pregnant and had/has no intention of getting pregnant but I didn't want her to feel left out). 

Amy's favorite animal is an owl, so an owl is what she gets.  It's adorable.

I also make these things called scübees.  I make them for babies, kids and adults.  They are these little scarf-tubey things that slip over the head and cuddle the neck.  They are great for babies and kids because there are no dangerous tails and they cozy right up the back of their little necks and under their wee chins.  I made one for Amy and she loved it. 

So baby gets one too.

And it's all wrapped in the cutest bag I have ever seen. 

I'm seeing Amy in about fifeteen minutes. I can't wait. I just hope this isn't the last time -- I'm not ready to be on my own yet.

July 7, 2010

"We Stand on Guard for Thee..."

 Your BC government at work...

For those of you who have never traveled much in “cattle” country, cattle guards are horizontal steel rails placed at fence openings, in dug-out places in the roads adjacent to highways (sometimes across highways), to prevent cattle from crossing over that area. For some reason the cattle will not step on the "guards," probably because they fear getting their feet caught between the rails.

A few months ago, British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell received and was reading a report that there were over 100,000 cattle guards in BC. BC ranchers had protested his proposed changes in grazing policies, so he ordered the Agriculture Minister to fire half of the "cattle" guards immediately!!

Before the Minister could respond and presumably try to straighten him out, Leader of the Opposition Carol James, intervened with a request that.. before any "cattle" guards were fired, they must be given six months of retraining.

And these people are running our Province???

(Ok, so this is actually an urban myth but I love it.  The reason it keeps getting passed around is because it's just so damned believable.)