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The Weekend that Was

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Lots of beach time this weekend.With the weather in the high 20s/low 30s, it was the best thing to do. The waves were really high today, and my son rated them, with a thumbs up, or down,....
He hovered around the surfers, and made surf moves. I need to get him a toy surfboard.

Playing with his chum.

And there was cooking and baking, the following of which I brought for my father's birthday party.

Jamie Oliver's Caprese salad.

Mediterranean Salad with mandarine dressing.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Written by Cathy

If you're happy and you know it...

Friday, July 28, 2006

"There is increasing political interest in using measures of happiness as a national indicator in conjunction with measures of wealth. A recent BBC survey found that 81% of the population think the Government should focus on making us happier rather than wealthier." -Adrian White.

What is wealth if there isn't happiness, anyway?...
A recent study proposes a World Map of Happiness. Every nation (with the exception of those at war, for they're not too happy now, are they?) has a ranking. Canada is in tenth place. Denmark ranks first (I wonder why).The U.S. is 23rd. Well, if we can't beat them in the Olympics, at least we can say that generally we're happier people. Check out your nation. Do you agree?
I hope you all have happy weekends, friends, regardless of where you reside. I am off to play some mindless computer games to numb my brain. And listen to French-Canadian music (not Celine Dion, folks, I don't need my brain that numb).
For your listening pleasure, check out Feist. I am listening to "L'amour ne dure pas toujours".

Written by Cathy

Chloe Made me Do It

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Actually, I need to thank you, Chloe. Because your bedside photo meme made me clean up and take stock of what was residing by my bed. Books, books and more books. Some of them stayed and some of them went to the bookshelf, having already been read. Here's what was there:

"Baby Proof", by Emily Giffin. This is her third book. The first two were better, but this one is still very good. I am currently reading this one.

"The Five People You Meet in Heaven" by Mitch Alboom. He is the author of "Tuesdays with Morrie", one of my most favourite books. I will be reading it next.

"Prodigal Summer" by Barabara Kingsolver. Dreamy reading. I pick it up every now and then and pick up where I left off.

"Honeymoon with my Brother" by Franz Wisner. I saw this guy on a t.v. interview and his story sounds strangely hilarious. He was left at the alter and decided to go on his honeymoon anyway. This one remains on my "To-Read" list.

"The Secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd. She's an amazing author, but I need to be in the right mood to read this one.

"Good Night, Sleep Tight" by Kim West. This is a book about sleeping strategies for babies and toddlers. My babe is sleeping wonderfully so I don't need this book anymore. Anyone out there need a book about how to get your young children to sleep properly?...

"Tao Teh Ching" by Lao Tzu. It is my gospel. I read it and re-read it.

"From Love Field: Our Final Hours with President JFK" by Nellie Connally. This was a bargain table buy. I have always been fascinated with JFK and the "scandal" surrounding his assasination. I've already read it, so it has moved to the donate pile.

"Black Like Me" by John Howard Griffin. A classic read. I have read it, but kept it by my bedside, because I want to read the ending again.

"Sleeping Beauty" by Philip Margolin. This is by the beach reading. I have read all the other Philip Margolin books, and this one is my least favourite. I know, because I have two chapters left to read and by this point, I can't remember what the bok is about, so I'd likely need to start the whole think over again. Not likely.

In addition to these books, I had several copies of Vanity Fair, at least half a dozen book marks, and a reading light.

Mr. C's side. My weather fetish is rubbing off on him. And don't worry; there aren't really dangerous explosives in that box. It's a WWI antique. To each his own.... :)

Written by Cathy

Voices, in the spaces in my head

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I am swamped with work and life right now. Not in a bad way; a very good way, actually. In fact, I don't think work could be going any better. I wake up looking forward to sitting at my desk and accomplishing something more, and hopefully, something useful and important, if even in just some small way.

As I sit, working away, I can't get this out of my head. It resides there; the fact that I am simply fortunate by the luck of birth, to have been born into a country without recent conflicts. North Americans have this way of creating and perpetuating an "us" versus "them" mentality. "Those" poor people in Lebanon, we think, and then chase the fleeting thought away, shooing it like a pesky fly. What if we didn't shoo these thoughts away, and instead of putting them at the backs of our head spaces, we allowed them to come to the forefront. What would we all do?...is allowing Israel to continue to bomb Lebanon the answer right now? I'll let you answer, should you feel motivated to do so.

To top things off, there is an environmental crisis in the works, which is nearly getting lost in the bigger concerns at the moment:

"BEIRUT: At least 10,000 tons of heavy fuel oil have been spilled into the Lebanese sea, causing an environmental catastrophe with severe effects on health, biodiversity and tourism, environmentalists and the Environment Ministry said Wednesday. Two weeks ago, Israeli bombs targeted the Jiyye power station, located on the coast 30 kilometers south of Beirut. Part of the oil in storage tanks has been burning ever since and the other part is leaking into the Mediterranean.
"The pollution has affected around 70 to 80 kilometers of both public and private rocky and sandy beaches from Damour, south of Beirut, through to Chekka in the North," Berge Hadjian, the Environment Ministry's director general said Wednesday. Another 15,000 tons of oil are expected to leak into the sea, he added. " Beirut Daily Star, July 26, 2006.

There are no images; it is an invisible blight to the rest of the unknowing world.

If you were living in southern Lebanon right now, a complete innocent, with a family of young children, well into your second week in a bomb shelter, with scarcely enough food and water and no knowledge of what tomorrow might bring, what would you want the average person a world away to do? Their voices can not be heard by us, but we can imagine what they must be thinking. Their thoughts, expressed as voices, pervade the spaces in my head. What shall we do?...

Written by Cathy


Sunday, July 23, 2006

What is it about some people, that they can not see any of the goodness in life and dwell on the badness and gloom? Even when there isn’t really anything terrible going on, they create something; the carpet needs fixing, the towels in the bathroom don’t match the bath mat…you know, stuff like this. This is my mother-in-law (MIL). Well, Mr. C’s whole family, really. With the exception of Mr. C. He is the complete opposite. Imagine Mr. Bean on Christmas morning. How he emerged as this happy-go-lucky person, from the life-is-a-crisis family, is beyond me.

We went for dinner to Mr.C’s mother’s house last night. She asked about my brother and I explained that he isn’t doing well, not at all. Her eyes glazed over and she then quickly changed the topic to her own woes (some of which are perfectly appropriate to be woeful about, mind you). It is the fact that she seems to put equal emphasis on all manners of woe that astound me; the carpet needs to be replaced (Insert Huge sighs and groans), is followed by the fact that her brother died three weeks ago, but she couldn’t go to the funeral because she’d recently had cataract surgery (Sighs, groans…), and the cat was just put down the day before, and her house will never ever be the same again, and she’s stressed out about her oldest daughter moving again, and then there is the constant work around the house, and life is hectic, oh, so hectic and busy….

So as not to come across as unsympathetic (her brother and her cat died over the span of three weeks, I know, I know…), I need to explain something about her.

Her life is the proverbial glass half empty. She never sees anything as a positive, even when it is. After dinner, my father-in-law asked my son to sneak downstairs to help him with something; they came back beaming, with a cake in their hands; it was a surprise wedding anniversary cake. MIL immediately scowled and got upset about the fact that they don’t need a cake, we’d just eaten pie, and what a silly thing, basically, to have done…she berated him. Made him feel terrible, and meanwhile all he’d done was attempt to make her happy. Fifty-six years later, and he hasn’t given up.

I could go on here. I think perhaps forever, but she is a difficult entity to put into words and writing, and I think I’ve already risked sounding cold here. So I think I’ll just leave it at that. The fact is, she’s a very unhappy and pessimistic person; someone who’s difficult to be around. Do you know anyone like this?...

Written by Cathy

The Calm After the Storm

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Everyone came out this morning to inspect their surroundings, after having been in the house (or woods, as it were) all day yesterday.We spent the day reading, pitching a tent in the living room, and making food.

Play-Doh food, that is.
And I, took photos of the storm all day long.
I got an e-mail from my book editor. They want to sign me on to write two more books, over the course of five years. It could become my other profession. I have a lot of research and writing to do over the next several months, to say the least.
I am going to the in-laws for dinner tonight. That will provide plenty to blog about tomorrow :).

Written by Cathy


Friday, July 21, 2006

I always dread seeing that line on the map going right through Nova Scotia. This storm shouldn't impact us that much. It is already down-grading to an extra-tropical storm. Last night we went around the entire house, bringing every item that could potentially blow away into the garage; lawn chairs, patio furniture, children's toys....and I went to the grocery store to stock up on batteries and food. We always go through the same exercise whenever there is a storm on the way; no matter how big or small. We live right on the coast and quite a drive from most amenities, so want to be prepared for whatever might come our way.

In the process of bringing things into the garage and putting away groceries, we discovered that our freezer in the garage had died, rendering all the food inside it spoiled. Ugh; what a mess...it was an older freezer, and now, on top of a bunch of spoiled food, we need to buy a new freezer.

So now, here I am, with the two boys, home today, watching another storm out the window, and trying to do a million things at once. We don't know what we are doing this weekend, since the weather will be yucky for pretty much the entire time.

What are your plans?

Written by Cathy

Mother #*@*^#

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Of course.
What else?

Defined in the sand
By the rivers that flow
To the Sea.

Sun spots dancing
On the images in
My mind.

Quest for answers
When there are ever
More questions.

Mother Nature
Whispers her answer.

In the misty fog,
bird song,
spring peeps,
simmering Heat.

Her whispers
As a Mother
warning her children
to Listen.

A fury.
Windy breath,
God of wind.

Dig in the sand
with your hands and your heart.
Not with your head.

Written by Cathy


Monday, July 17, 2006

That's it. I am now a former Liberal and am officially joining the New Democrat Party. Alexa McDonough, the NDP MP in my riding, (yes, I voted for her!)...wrote this letter in response to Prime Minister Harper's response to Israel bombing Lebanon:

"Dear Minister,
I write to express outrage at your government’s response to the destruction levelled by Israel on the innocent civilians in Gaza and Lebanon.

The world has rightly condemned the killings and kidnapping of Israeli soldiers, however Israel’s response has been illegal, brutal and disproportionate.

It is more apparent than ever that your government’s desire to appease George Bush is so all-consuming, that you are prepared to turn a blind eye to the massive destruction in Gaza and in Lebanon, going so far as to deem these Israeli government assaults as ‘measured’.

Even George Bush has been compelled to bow to international pressure and caution Israel to “limit as much as possible so-called collateral damage not only to facilities but also to human lives.”

Israel, Hamas and Hezbollah must all assume responsibility for their actions. However, it is impossible to ignore Israel’s disproportionate response:
Bombing of the Palestinian Interior Ministry and other government offices:
Arrest of duly elected Palestinian parliamentarians;
Bombings of Palestinian infrastructure including a power station that was the sole generator of electricity and running water for hundreds of thousands of Gazans;
Destruction of the Lebanese airport;
Air and sea blockade of Lebanon preventing Lebanese as well as Canadian citizens, including many of my constituents, from returning to or leaving Lebanon; and
Killing of scores of Palestinian and Lebanese civilians, including children.

Canadians expect their government to reflect our strongly held values of fairness, and justice and to uphold our obligations to international law. They also expect their government to defend and protect their citizens overseas. Your inability to reach out to the families in Canada whose relatives are trapped in Lebanon, or to put in place any evacuation plan to bring those citizens home, is irresponsible and unacceptable.

I urge you to set in motion an immediate plan to bring Canadian citizens home, to call on Israel to halt its assault on Lebanon and to negotiate in good faith a resolution to this latest crisis which has already cost too many innocent lives.

Alexa McDonough, MP Halifax NDP Foreign Affairs and International Development Critic"


Written by Cathy

Tsk tsk

Friday, July 14, 2006

Tsk Tskers annoy me. I act on my emotions and my seat is on fire when I am passionate about something. Here I go again.

Read this. And please, don't just tsk tsk.

P.S. You can send a copy to Prime Minister Stephen Harper at pm@pm.gc.ca

UPDATE: Sunday July 16, 4:22 AST
8 Canadians have been killed in Lebanon. Read about it here. There is a large Lebanese community in Halifax. My hairdresser is Lebanese and goes to Lebanon regularly. I am thinking about him now. Let's see what our Prime Minister has to say about this. If he continues to hold his preliminary belief, these innocent people would be collateral damage. I hope he changes his opinion. This turn of recent events, a world away, could have political implications right here in Canada, as Canadians may become outraged by our politicians response.

UPDATE: Sunday, July 16, 9:07 pm AST
I just came across this petition. Please take a look and sign it if you feel compelled.

Written by Cathy

Message in a Bottle

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Or maybe Message in a Vacuum might be more appropriate here. I am furious at the recent words of our Prime Minister. So much so that I wrote him a letter tonight. And sent it to every Member of Parliament. Well, up the T's anyway. Who knew there were so many of them!

My Letter:

"Dear Member of Parliament;
The response by Israel to the capture of two Israeli soldiers was in no way appropriate nor measured. The attack on an International airport, was not a measured nor appropriate act.

I am neither Muslim nor Jewish and have no personal ties to this area. I am simply deeply hurt,alarmed and quite frankly, shocked by our Prime Minister's words in response to this attack by Israel on Lebanon. The subsequent attacks by Lebanon on Israel should also be condemned. There is no excuse nor justification for this situation, and Canada should be taking a strong stance for peaceful negotiations, and not speaking about appropriate measures. Bombs can not be used as appropriate measures in such circumstances.

I have never felt compelled to e-mail you before. And I hope I do not again.
Respectfully sent,..."
My name signed here

Written by Cathy

Flick, Errrr...

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Thank you, Erikku, for suggesting that I get a Flickr site on my blog. I haven't really looked at Flickr much and don't really look at other peoples', when they have them on their blogs. So I wonder what you all think; is it a useful thing to have? Should I get one?

The weather has been warm and wonderful and I have been getting work finished that I have been sitting on for ages. We are expecting a stormy day tomorrow and then warm and sunny for the weekend. You all know by now that I am weather obsessed, and now I am beginning to think about the calm before the hurricane storm. Our ocean waters in the Northwest Atlantic are up to five degrees Celsius warmer than "normal", which is not a good thing for us where hurricanes are involved. You know that you will be hearing more about this from me in the future. The other thing that is on my mind, well, pretty much always on my mind, is global warming, and I will have some more to post about this topic, for certain.

Something I rarely blog about is music, which might lend you to believe that I am not really a music aficionado, but I am, really...it's just that I don't blog about it. So I will perhaps try to do so more often. Today, I was listening to a group by the name of Small Sins , who have a Canadian lead singer as well as the wonderful Australian group, The Waifs. I love "London Still"...the words aren't really relevant to me but the tone of the song is wonderful, it's really a day-dreamy kind of song.

But in the meantime, back to the question of Flickr...

Written by Cathy

Gros Morne

Monday, July 10, 2006

I spent Friday and Saturday in a windowless room talking with conservation-minded people from across Canada. By Saturday night we were whooping it up, Newfie style, to the tunes of Neddy Norris. It was a completely enjoyable work-related time. But the best bit of the trip was Sunday, when I went hiking in Gros Morne National Park, with one of my former students. I will take you on a snap-shot of our journey here...

Moonscape. Literally. American astronauts trained for their Moon landing here.

Off we go...Hello Sheep: BAAA!
The wind was blowing fiercely and we felt like the only souls on Earth. Pick a superlative and I'm sure it must apply here.

As we walked around the edge of a cliff, we frightened a Bald Eagle from it's nest and I just got him in my sights.

Imagine your hair whipping in your face, the salt stinging your eyes and the freshness of the air like that of the Earth itself. Nature in all its glory.

And even though these signs were posted throughout the park...

You can still purchase a stuffed species just outside the park border. Imagine getting one of these souvenirs through customs...only in Newfoundland.

Written by Cathy

Off to The Rock

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The wildlife around here like to taunt my two cats, as you will have seen from yesterday's post. Here is one of the many squirrels, close up and then look out the window in the next photo, there he is: "na na na na na na" at the cat.
I am leaving tomorrow to go here. This will hopefully be my last work-related trip this year. I will tell you all about it when I return, but in the meantime, here are some more pictures that I took today...I will be back early next week.

Written by Cathy

I'm like a bird

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Written by Cathy

On the Waterfront...

Monday, July 03, 2006

We decided to spend most of the glorious day pretending that we were tourists in our own town, and wandered along the boardwalk, which was mostly full of cruise ship tourists from New York and Massachusetts. Of course, one of the main attractions is the variety of boats.
How much money would you need to be paid to wear this on your head and entice hot and cranky tourists to go sailing?
Take your pick. Sailboat: $50 per person.

Ferry: $1.75
Warship: Free
Theodore Tugboat: $35 per person...
We decided to take the free tour of the warship. We'd done Theodore before and the ferry many times. We ended up promising our older son that we'd take him sailing some time this summer, though.

Nova Scotians are straightforward people. No sense beating around the bush. Get to the point, is what I say.

LOOK! Lots of kitsch Canadian souvenirs. We didn't buy any. Not many Canadians buy this stuff. If we were in another country, the same shelf with kitsch goods from Australia or Austria, Greece or Italy; now that would fascinate us. We could easily spend money on such things then. My son still tried to persuade me that he needed a Canada snow globe. It didn't work.
We ended our visit watching this lovely dance group. They are representing Canada in a dance competition in Italy in October, and were trying to raise money. Mr. C took the babe in his stroller for a walk while my son and I watched, amazed. They were really really good. When they went around to take donations, I realised that Mr. C had my purse in the bottom of the stroller. So now, I have to go to their web site and see how I can make a donation. Perhaps you would like to as well!? (There is no affiliation or relation to me...I just heard of them for the first time today, on the boardwalk).

Written by Cathy

Playing with Fire

Sunday, July 02, 2006

We had a really nice evening at my sisters'. The babe fell asleep and our husbands took our children to see the ten minutes of fireworks that my son had been worked up about for the past month. My sister and I played with the fire and gossiped about our in-laws. Good fun.

By the time we got home, it was very late and unfortunately we didn't sleep in much today, so we were a rather cranky bunch. We all have tomorrow off, so we are hoping for a nice day to venture out.

I hope you had a great weekend, friends.

Written by Cathy

Happy Canada Day, Eh!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

July 1st always marks Canada Day, the birthdate of Confederation of our fine country. This year, we are 139 years old. The day is full of celebrations around the city, including fireworks, parades, celebrations at historical sites and pancake breakfasts. We are going to my sister's house for dinner and then to the fireworks.
Canadians are not as patriotic as Americans, in general. You don't see Canadian flags flying on houses as much as you see this when one enters New England, for example. But I think this is changing; our nation is proud of it's stand on many issues. And as a result, I think people are getting more and more patriotic. This is encouraged by the likes of American chains like Walmart, with their endless kitsch of Canada Day paraphernelia. I think we should all celebrate a World Day, a United Nations Day, a People of Humanity Day with this much fervour.
In the meantime, I am enjoying it because we get an extra day off this Monday because our national holiday falls on a Saturday. I will celebrate a long weekend!
Happy Canada Day, friends of the world....

Written by Cathy

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