Friday, December 30, 2005

We're not in right now, but please leave a message . .

. . . after this post and I'll get back to you just as soon as I can.
Well, my few and faithful readers, I'm going to Winnipeg for two weeks. I may or may not get a chance to post while I'm in the Peg, so I'll probably talk to y'all in a few weeks.

Have a great New Years!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Christmas and Labour

About a week before Christmas, I began to think of the Christmas story in a new light. I was thinking about what it must have been like for Mary to be in labour that night. Was she already having contractions as they went from Inn to Inn? Was there an edge of desperation in this search? Was Joseph just hoping she could hang on a little longer, stay on the donkey long enough for them to find some place to stay? Did Mary's impending birth and the mess and noise involved suddenly change Innkeeper's minds, so that they had "no room"?

Who delivered baby Jesus? There is no midwife, or other female mentioned in the story, so one must assume that Joseph the humble carpenter delivered the baby of his bride-to-be in a stable surrounded by horses and cows. I suspect that neither of them, especially Joseph, had previous experience with childbirth. It must have been a somewhat harrowing experience.

And then, after all that, when Mary was exhausted and elated and trying to figure out how to nurse the baby, there were shepherds and sheep everywhere who wanted to see the baby. Did she want them to go away so she could get some sleep? Was she strong enough to greet them? Were the shepherds loud and boisterous or gentle and respectful? Did they help Joseph clean up the stable and get everything sorted out?

All these questions have started bouncing around in my head. But the image that stays with me the most is one of a young girl, in labour, riding a donkey. She is trying to stay calm and focused. She knows they will find a place to stay soon. She trusts that God will not allow his son to be born in a ditch or the middle of a city street. But it is looking more and more hopeless as time goes on. And the pains are coming faster, and she is trying to contain the pain and not be overwhelmed by this full body experience until they get to a safe place.

There is all this unspoken fear and suspense and determination behind the story. All this pain and mess and reality behind the simple words, "While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."

Monday, December 19, 2005

My Two Cents on the Child Care Issue

We here in Canada are in the middle of an election right now and one of the issues on the table is a proposal for a National Child Care Program. The former government, the Liberals, were planning to create a national subsidized Day Care program. Now that they are electioneering they are calling it and "Early Learning and Child Care Program". They are saying that they would like all Canadians to have access to the best quality care for their children.

As a stay at home Mom, I find this slightly offensive. Are they suggesting that a paid government employee can give my child better quality care than I can? That just because he or she has a degree in Early Childhood Education they are more qualified to raise my son than I, his mother? That he will learn more being in a regimented programmed environment with multiple children his age than he will spending time dialoguing and reading one-on-one with me, or helping and observing me bake, clean, cook, socialize and shop?

I am not saying that it is not important for there to be good quality day care for those who are interested in going back to work. I am just wondering why it is fair for billions of dollars to be put into a child care program which excludes those who choose to care for their own children. It seems to me that this is yet another way in which parents who choose to care for their children are subtly demeaned by Canadian society. If we were really "good" people we would want our children to be a part of this "early learning" program and get back to being productive members of society by rejoining the workforce.

Doesn't this suggest an underlying social agenda? One that encourages all Canadians to have families where both parents work and the children go to state run Day Care and then to state run schools. An agenda that teaches children from one year of age onwards the norms and values that the state desires to promote, as opposed to any ethics or beliefs a parent might wish to pass on to their child.

Personally, I am not up for this agenda. I think it is silly of Paul Martin to accuse the Conservative Party of having an "hidden agenda" when they offer to give all parents of children under 6 money to spend on the child care method of their choice. Parents can use the money to subsidize their Day Care expenses, to pay a babysitter, to enrich their single income family standard of living, or, if they really want to, to buy beer and popcorn. It seems to me that giving every family money means giving every family a choice. Yes, such a plan does support stay at home parents. But it also equally supports parents who go back to work and want to pay for another child care alternative. In my mind that is a equitable system. It is a system that supports authentic diversity as opposed to covert hegemony.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Snow Days -- Part Two


So, my husband goes to get the hood of the car unfrozen and get the car started. You know what happened? He got someone to drive him over there. He got into the car. And it STARTED! No need to pry the hood open, no need to get a boost . . . some people have all the luck!

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Snow Days -- Part 1 -- Wednesday Morning

Remember my post yesterday about the snow? Well, it is still snowing. The roads are a mess. You can only drive in the tracks of other vehicles, and then only if you can manage to get out of your driveway without being stuck, because there is over a foot of snow now. The roads in town haven't been cleared yet because the plows are still busy trying to get the highway cleared.

Today was our playgroup's Christmas party, and the last playgroup until January. I decided that I had to go because I missed last week, and if you miss too many weeks you get out of the loop. So my intrepid son and I drove to playgroup with no problems. We almost got stuck backing out of our driveway, but with just a bit of a kick at the packed snow around us, I got us free. We just didn't stop on the way there, and we kept the car in second gear.

Everything was all good. We had fun at the Christmas party. Andrew wandered around and enjoyed to toys for once -- he is really just getting old enough to have fun. I sat and drank coffee and visited -- I am just really starting to get to know people.
Santa came, and he got a book wrapped up so it seemed "new". He only tried to unplug the christmas tree twice, and didn't try to steal anyone esle's presents, so it was a succcess.

Until we got out to the car. Then I realized I had left my lights on, and the battery was dead. So I found another woman who offered to jump the car. At which point I discovered that the hood was frozen shut. No matter how much I chipped away at the hood, I could not get it to open enough to actually pop the hood and get at the catch that opens the hood.

So the woman offered to give me a ride. Which I thought was cool, except that she was also giving another woman and her child a ride, and there were no back seats in her van. So Andrew and I got the seats, and both of their kids sat in the back without seatbelts. I didn't feel very comfortable with that, so I ended up walking. Yes, WALKING, with my 25 lb toddler who was not wearing his full snow gear and had exposed legs. I tucked his legs into my jacket and waded through the foot and a half of unplowed snow on the four blocks home. It was my workout for the day, I tell you!

Now I and Andrew are at home and warm, and the problem of our car has been left with my husband. We'll see what happens.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Corner Gas

I don't have tv, although I own a television set and a DVD player, it is not hooked up to any means of receiving a television signal. But I have been hearing about this show called Corner Gas, which is about Saskatchewan. When I was in the video store the other day, they had last season's episodes on DVD, so I decided to rent one.

My husband and I wathced all 6 episodes in a day and a half. It is such a funny show, and so many of the details are so true of Saskatchewan. It is sort of like a Canadian version of Seinfeld. There are 8 main characters who all live in Dog River, Saskatchewan. The main place of action is the gas station and attached diner. It is basically just about these quirky characters lives.

Brent Butt, the producer / writer / main character is brilliant. The show is full of funny plot lines, quirky characters and great dialogue. One of my favorite techniques that is used by the show is the "flashback" or "dream sequence". It is used to flash to what the character's are thinking, or to what else is happening in town. There are also some great cameos, like when Brent kicks the Tragically Hip out of his garage when they are pracicing. They say, "But we were just working on lyrics" and he replies "Don't tell me what the poets are doing".

I also like the Saskatchewan humour that is added into it. For example, in one episode Brent's mom makes nanaimo bars. But she insists on calling them "Nanaimo - type Saskatchewan bars". That is Sasktachewan through and through. Or when the police officers pretend not to know that the rest of their baseball team is drinking, and the team pretends not to know that they know that the officers know, just so no one will have an akward moment. It's pure Canadian, especially prairie, politeness.

If you have never seen this show, all I can say is get a hold of a copy and watch it. It is so funny that we have now watched the entire first two seasons in the last week. Out of all 26 ish episodes, there was only one we didn't think was hilarious. This is Canadian humour at its best. Enjoy.

We've got SNOW!

It is SNOWING. The capitals have to be there, because it is not just snowing. It is SNOWING. I shovelled about 20 cm of snow out of the driveway around 1:30 and two hours later you can't even tell that I did anything! I guess our white Christmas has come.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Is this accurate, or what?

You're A Prayer for Owen Meany!

by John Irving

Despite humble and perhaps literally small beginnings, you inspire
faith in almost everyone you know. You are an agent of higher powers, and you manifest
this fact in mysterious and loud ways. A sense of destiny pervades your every waking
moment, and you prepare with great detail for destiny fulfilled. When you speak, IT

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Sunday, December 04, 2005

Food for Thought

This great quote was tagged onto someone's signiture on a message board I post on a lot:

"When a man steals to satisfy hunger, we may safely conclude that there is something wrong in society -- so when a woman destroys the life of her unborn child, it is evidence that either by education or circumstances she has been greatly wronged." M. Brinkerhoff.

There are huge issues to explore in this quote, but right now there is one thing that comes to my mind. When I was taking my "Ethics in the Classroom" course at SFU, the whole abortion / keeping the baby issue came up. And I noticed something: young pregnant teens are presented with the above false dichotomy: you can have an abortion or you can keep the baby and take care of it yourself. I rarely hear anyone anywhere in our society mention the third option: you can give the child up for adoption.

I think this is because in many ways this option is the most difficult. First, you have to carry the baby to term and deliver it. Then, after this, you must give that baby you carried for 9 months, your own flesh and blood, to someone who you do not know, and ask them to care for and raise your child. After this, you must go through the greiving process of losing that child, even though they are alive and well in the world.

But on the positive side, you gain much, as a young woman, from taking this route. First, if you are not in a condition to raise that child well, you have ensured that your child will be raised in a more stable environment than you might be able to provide. Second, you do not have to live with the knowledge that you have chosen to end a human life. Although you may not see that child, you know that they are alive and well and that you have given them that life.

I think this third option is healthier both physically and emotionally for said teen mom. But I have never seen or heard of it mentioned in any curriculum or program or video relating to teen pregnancy. Like abstinence, adoption is one of those things we think is too noble a choice to be "realistic" for teenagers. If only we had the courage to entrust our youth with hard but virtuous options.

Happy "Holidays"

I heard on the CBC this week that the governor general is going to put up a "Holiday" Tree rather than a "Christmas" Tree this year, so as not to offend anyone.

I have two questions: 1. Is she also going to light 8 "Holiday Candlesticks", or would that be mildly offensive to certain religious groups?

2. Why is it okay to believe anything you want to in Canada as long as you don't actually believe anything? As long as you don't make any absolute truth claims, you are okay. But say there is something called truth out there and everyone will jump down your throat for being a bigot.

Personally, I am going to have a Christmas tree, open Christmas presents, and sing Christmas carols. If my friends choose to celebrate other feasts and festivals this time of year I will not egg their houses or call them names or expect them to celebrate Christmas. But if they put up a tree, can they call it by its proper name? I've never heard of a Diwali tree or a Hanukkah tree or a Solstice tree. So can we call it what it is? Please?

Saturday, December 03, 2005

It is so dry that . . .

the pictures of my friends' children that I keep on my refrigerator are curling

running a bath feels like walking into a rainforest

the moisture from your breath is stolen by the desperate air before it turns to steam

it has been below freezing for a month and there is only an inch of snow

you feel like a raisin when you wake up in the morning

your hands a feet look like raisins

Ah ha! Now I know why everyone in Saskatchewan lives so long! The dry winters preserve them like fruit or fish!

Like this is a surprise?

Your Personality Profile

You are sexy, powerful, and bold.
You're full of passion and energy...
Sometimes this passion has a dark side.

You feel most alive when you're seducing someone.
You never fail to get someone's attention.
Quick minded, you're also quick to lose your temper!