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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Peace is more precious than diamonds....

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Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King Jr.'s widow passed away today. I was doing a little research for the library bulletin board for Black History Month, which is the month of February, and I could not ignore Martin Luther King's place in black history. I included some of Dr. King's " I have a dream" speech as part of my display. I read the speech in it's entirety, along with his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. He states, "peace is more precious than diamonds or gold or silver". His message is just as powerful today as it was over 40 years ago. We are still striving for world peace. Thank you, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., for giving us such beautiful words and ideas to read and say and think upon.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

"And Daddy had to close his eyes...."

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Yesterday, I had the privelege of being the parent helper in my son's kindergarten class. I say "privelege" because I was able to bear witness to his " show and tell" which, in his case, is mostly "tell". And tell he does. For the full minutes fifteen minutes in which he was given the floor, he managed to squeeze as many words as humanly possible out of his mouth. He brought 2 Rescue Heroes, a Knight, and a Bedamon thing to show his classmates. He told everyone that this Rescue Heroes names was Billy Blazes and he was the leader and he got Billy awhile ago for Christmas and this Rescue Heroes name was such and such and the Knight here he got for Christmas and he came with a sword and a shield and a big castle that is like five feet high (here he widens harms as wide as he can)and so big that Daddy had to put it in the basement and this here Bedamon Daddy bought after a trip and you know Daddy went on a trip somewhere and he got to go on the Back to the Future ride and it was so scary that Daddy had to close his eyes.....and on and on and on. At the end, the dinosaur relic of a teacher (substitute) asked him to thank his audience for being such a good audience and he thanked everyone for being such a good audience and being "such goood friends". What a perfect time to the leave the video cam at home, you idiot mother. Tyler, I hope you NEVER lose the ability to talk with such joy and pleasure in front of a group of people. I think you have mastered public speaking at the age of 4.

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda.

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I finished "Shake Hands with the Devil" in just a little over a week and I was fascinated. The human story is so compelling-Romeo Dalliare demonstrates such courage and dedication and integrity of heart that is a rare combination. I admire him tremendously and what the UN put him through is just incredible. UN "soldiers" arriving without food or water, no tents and no vehicles. No "blue berets" to identify them as peacekeepers. Arguments over whether the crisis was an "ethnic cleansing" or a "genocide". If termed a "genocide", the UN would be required to go in with greater force, but an "ethnic cleansing" was considered a less serious situation that did not require action from the outside world. 800,000 innocent men, women and children slaughtered in 100 days. That is faster than Nazi Germany at the height of World War II, and yet one of the principals the UN is founded on is the "never again" philosophy - the world will never again tolerate a "genocide" of innocent humans based on color, creed or religion. Reading this book is so infuriating because it is apparent that Romeo Dallaire was denied the tools and means to stop what he saw coming. He only asked for a force of 5000 men to go into Rwanda to disarm the extremists and stop the killing. He was given just around 1000, including a Belgain Force, which having the colonial history that it had with Rwanda, should never have been permitted. This book is about Romeo Dallaire and his command of this mission as a "Chapter 6" peacekeeping mission. Throughout the 400 and some pages of this book, there are only about 4 or 5 paragraphs which describe the killings in graphic detail. Romeo does not see his book as a vehicle for decribing the killings so much as an opportunity to document the mission so that the "whys" can be analyzed, and the Western World can learn from it's mistakes, yet again.
I followed up the book with a viewing of the documentary, which I found at Blockbuster. Romeo describes the beauty of the Rwandan countryside in his book, but the screen brings it to life. We join the Commander as he tours Rwanda for the first time since leaving in August 1994. His suffering since leaving Rwanda has been great-medical discharge from the military, depression, suicide attempts, extensive drug therapy and pychological therapy. He blames himself for not having succeeded in his mission, but yet he stayed in a "hell on earth" to do what he could to save innocent lives. And he relived every horrid detail in the writing of this book, so that the world could share in knowledge of this tragedy and hopefully learn from it. This book has given me an education in so many ways and I am humbled by this man and his great courage.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The {T} List. Tyler's favorites.

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1. Cinnamon buns.

2. Lifesize Sharks and other Underwater Creatures.

3. Hockey in any way, shape, or form.

4. Rescue heroes.

5. Being Daddy's shadow.

The {A} List. 10 Things that make me happy.

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1. flannel jammies.

2. mom's brownies.

3. sex and the city.

4. a kiss from someone while i am sleeping. (tyler, hunter, ron)

5. sleeping in. (just til 8 or 9 am)

6. ocean breezes.

7. lobster fresh from the pot. with melted butter.

8. madonna's new cd. confessions from a dance floor.

9. beautiful pictures from my camera.

10. a new magazine in the mailbox.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Shake Hands with the Devil.

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Last night I finally did it. I started reading Romeo Dallaire's book. I have been wanting to read it for a long time, but I just had to work up the courage. I know that it is going to be disturbing, but it's such a human story told by such a brave man that I must try to do it justice. If I had to pick a Canadian Hero, it would be Romeo Dallaire for having survived Rwanda and telling the story so that maybe we could learn what we should have learned with World War II.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

A Million Little Pieces.

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I have not read this book, but it is on my "to read" list. It was an "Oprah's Book Club" pick last fall, and sometimes, I am a little hesistant to read books that are SOOO in the moment. Not sure why, but it was the same way with the Da Vinci Code. Everyone I have talked to has said that it was an amazing book, amazing story. This week, controversy erupted when a website called "Smoking Gun" accused James Frey, the author, of making up parts of the book and exaggerating other parts. I happened to catch James Frey on Larry King Live. It was like watching a deer in the headlights-he looked so frightened. I felt so sorry for him. He admitted that he did change some details in the book to protect the identity of others, but otherwise he stands by his book and it's message. The big question on everyone's mind was what Oprah thought of all the controversy and of James. She called in to Larry King Live to say that the regardless of the details, the book's overall impact and message will remain the same to her and it will resonate with scores of people who are battling additions. You could see the immediate relief on James Frey's face as she offered her opinion. It was a great program to catch, and today I am compelled to find and read the book. I think that because it is a book, and not an affadavit, it is the writer's option to write the story as he sees fit. Details, are just those, DETAILS. And the bigger truth of the book remains the same.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Diary of a Christmas Vacation

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We were treated to a brown Christmas. I have declared snow legally missing in this province. There is none to be had at all. On Christmas Eve, in the afternoon, we took the kids to see “Cheaper By the Dozen 2” which was a very cute movie. When we arrived home, we had our neighbors, Dan & Melinda & girls over for some hoer deuves and drinks. It was fun and the kids were excited. We got up at 7:30 on Christmas morning and an hour later it looked like a wrapping paper bomb had gone off in the living room.(ya know the story). Santa brought Tyler a “Roboraptor” for Christmas which is a dinosaur robot with a remote control with several features which allow it to walk, smell, growl, etc. Tyler’s favorite feature is the “guard” feature where the dino can be placed, say, in front of the door to your bedroom and it will “guard” the room- growl if any human comes near. Perfect for big sisters. Santa left Hunter a pink MP3 player and a note saying that the 3 in 1 bed that she asked for from American Girl would arrive after Christmas. It finally arrived yesterday. Betcha didn’t know that Canada Post delivers things for Santa after Christmas! The obsession with americangirl.com continues in this house, which is really wonderful because I am in not rush for my little girl to grow up. We are hoping to visit American Girl Place in Chicago this summer on our way home from the east coast.

On December 27, my parents arrived for a week of fun and frolic. Tyler had a hockey tournament and Hunter had a skating practice, so Grammie & Grampie were able to see them play hockey and skate. Tyler got his very first goal on Friday, December 30, and Grampie Long was there to see it. We had Grammie in the kitchen whipping up some of our favorites (well, really MY favorites) like English Trifle and toll house cookies. We did the trip to Red Lobster and the big huge mall. Mom & Dad really treated us with an amazing trip to Cowboy city.. Dad rented a limousine which picked us up at our house for a two day trip to Cowboy city where we met up with my aunt and uncle from the hat. It was so nice for Ron to NOT have to drive for a change. He could just sit back and relax. He has a very busy and demanding job, and this was such a nice break for him. He sat in the limo and had a brew. Aaaah! Life is perfect. We stayed at the Hyatt in downtown where my cousin Nick works. He got us a lovely suite of rooms to stay in. In fact, we stayed in the same suite of rooms that Matthew Perry (from “Friends”) and Ron Wood from the Rolling Stones stayed in when they visited. Nick is extremely well-liked at this hotel because we were treated like royalty during our stay. Complimentary wine & cheese delivered to our suite. Complimentary fruit baskets. Complimentary fruit smoothies at breakfast. Complimentary cookies & milk at bedtime for the kids. Things were just groovy. On New Year’s Eve, Dad scored 12 tickets to the Calgary Flames & Edmonton Oilers game at the Saddle Dome. This is one of the biggest, sold out games of the year because of the rivalry between the two Alberta towns. We took the C-train to the Saddle Dome, which is an above & below ground subway. This was my first NHL game ever. (Both the kids have gone to an Oilers game with Dad). When we got there, the crowd was *electric*. It was a sea of red Flames jerseys interspersed with pockets of Oilers jerseys here and there. My favorite sighting was a couple where the girl had on all Flames stuff and the boyfriend had on Oilers stuff and she had a sign which said “I’M WITH STUPID!”. Haha. I had a 25 year old sitting next to me during the game, and every time the Flames scored, I was christened with beer. It was great. Tyler was very upset that the Flames fans in front of us were chanting, “OILERS SUCK, OILERS SUCK!”. He wanted me to “speak” to them and tell them to “STOP SAYING THAT!”. (Yeah, sure, I will speak to them right away.) We saw Don Cherry, and it was a very, exciting close game. On the way back to the Hyatt, we were all squished in the C-train like sardines, then who should get on but the 25 year old who had christened me with beer all evening. Man, I just couldn’t get away from that bucko. ( Actually, he was rock star handsome, and I didn’t mind sitting next to him at all, he could have christened me with pepto bismo all evening). My kids didn’t go to bed until Midnight that night, which is UNHEARD of because we always stick to bedtime. Needless to say, it was very quiet in the limo on the way back. It was like the nap Olympics. A good time had by all.

Mom & Dad left us on January 3. Back to real life. The kids here don’t go back to school until Monday the 9th but Daddy was back to work this week. He had a teleconference on Wednesday morning, so the kids and I got out of town completely and went to West Ed Mall. That Mall is so huge that I think, even though we have been there about 8 times already, we have still only covered about half of the place. Tyler’s little legs can only take so much walking. We have skated on the Ice Palace there twice and we went to the Water Park at the beginning of December. There are 9 water slides, a wave pool and numerous other kiddy pools to explore. Hunter and I did the 2nd biggest water slide together & it was a blast. We laughed so hard at the end, and you know those water slides always give you the BIGGEST wedgie. So on Wednesday, we went to the Sea Life Caverns at the Mall, which we had not visited before, and we went to the Sea Lion Show. It was relatively inexpensive at $4.95 per ticket for about a 30 minute show with two sea lions named “Jazz” & “Manny”. The kids loved this and the big sea lion Manny could toss a lot of water into the spectator stands. Cool fun for kids!

Ron just left to go out to buy us a treadmill. All those “complimentaries” are catching up with us. Tyler has 2 birthday parties today and a hockey game. Hunter went with Dad to help out and here I sit in my jammies when I need to run out and buy two birthday gifts. At this rate, I might get the Xmas tree down by Valentine’s Day.

I have sent pics of our Wednesday adventure and some pics from Hunter’s Dress Rehearsal for skating on Thur. Jan.5. She skates with 2 teams. The blue dress is the for the Juvenile Team and they are skating to music from Cinderalla. And the pink and blue dress is for the Pre-Juvenile Team and they are skating to music from Shark Tale, which is actually an old tune “Car Wash”.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Real Simple.

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That is my mantra for this year. Simplify. Clean out. Clear out. De-clutter. Whatever you want to call it. My goal is simply this: to pick a small part of the whole house each day and re-organize it. It's amazing how much space you have once the mess of unused is cleared out. I plan to tackle every closet, every drawer, every box until this whole house is organized. There are many, many objects that should have never made the move from Nova Scotia. But I did not have the time or focus to tackle such a project before we left. Today I started with the drawers in Tyler's room clearing out items that are small or stained. Then I tackled my scrapbook supplies. Things were not as disorganized as I thought and I was happy to find some pics of the kids as newborns that I couldn't exactly remember where I had placed.

On another note, I watched the new Martha Stewart show today, as I often do a 1 pm. One of today's guests was Alexis Stewart, Martha's daughter. I have to say that I was very much disgusted by Alexis' behaviour on the show today. She acted like a spoiled, rich prima donna, and was not very kind to her mother. It was sickening to watch. I cannot help but think of all the people who have been on Martha's show who were just thrilled to be there, but not her own daughter. How ironic that she was a part of Martha Stewart: The Apprentice where she was taking participants to task for not having the appropriate attitude and putting forth their best effort, and yet, here she is acting like a moody teenager who has much better things to do than be on her mother's show. Just an observation.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Echoes of Laughter

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It is very ironic that I named my very first blog "Echoes of Laughter" since I cannot remember either the user id or the password to get in and continue posting. Yes, I can really hear the "echoes of laughter" about this one. What an idiot.

Anyway, I hope to continue to blog in a more timely and regular fashion, whether I have anything worthwhile to say or not. It is early in the new year and I have much that I want to record and share so that years down the road when I am old and grey, I have pages to look back on with fond memories.
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