Saturday, April 30, 2011

Here Fishy Fishy

I had a wonderful time playing out on the land with my kids - exhibiting childlike wonder at seeing icefishing holes dug for the first time (by non traditional means). I felt amazement at the efficiency that our guides as they put-up and took down camp swiftly and without hardly uttering a word and did all the needed tasks and had some of the best caribou stew ever. The kids were awesome teaching me that I should point the fish north if I wanted to catch any more and that you had to make a sound that I don't remember well enough to translate into typed English letters to coax the fish closer. I even got to teach an impromptu lesson on cell metabolism entitled "why you need to eat if you want to stay warm". We were all in good spirits, in spite of the somewhat bitter cold - late April in general has been well below normal - hoping that this turns into a warm May. The ride up in the qammatiq was bumpy and I couldn't find a sitting position that was comfortable for both my hips and knees at the same time. My kids kindly insisted I ride the back of one of the skidoos on the way back, which was nice for actually seeing the world around me and considerably less uncomfortable. They were pretty great that way.

Its been a good week in general. As usual I'm left wishing there were more hours in the day, but I've been making a genuine effort to get adequate sleep this year even if it cuts into hobbies like painting, knitting or reading. (Yes Mom, I know you've been telling me this was important for years.)

The election is looming, but I've already cast my vote and really nothing in the campaign was likely to change my choices, but the end result is still fairly up in the air, and all I can do is hope for the best or at least the least of possible evils or the slightly less bad scenario - ooooh... optimism there, eh? But since it is quite out of my hands at this point I may as well wait, knowing that just as some people scheduled watching the Royal wedding at some ridiculous hour, I will be watching the Election Coverage Monday - this will be a nail biter, requiring hanging in until the polls in BC are counted. At which point, I may or may not opt to listen to the elected prime ministers speech.

And so here were are on Saturday morning... the weekend ahead of me and much to do... so off I go... and hopefully the weather will improve and I'll get back to going on regular walks. Until then... you'll be getting more pictures of knitting.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sock it to them - Go Cannucks!

This is an ongoing UFO (unfinished object) - obviously this one is done, but its partner is only half done... sigh. One day soon, new socks for me.

The inspiration for this post is surprisingly an excellent newspaper article by Margret Atwood.*** I feel like I finally have a label for my political orientation - swing voter. I'll quote Ms. Atwood's definition, as she says it much better than me:

What parties are peddling, changes from election to election - and often enough what they peddle is somewhere between fantasy and shameless lies, but that is a story for another post. My preference is when possible to choose the best local candidate. I figure an election is a giant job interview for a large and varied in experience hiring panel. I want my parliament to be full of competent, caring, compassionate and passionate people. I want someone to represent me and my riding who will make me feel proud, not ashamed.**

The caveat is that we know that the party platform and their leader is a big part of what you are being sold. Often parties are selling a lot of the same options in the package. Sometimes the Liberals seem more like Conservatives and sometimes they seem more like the NDP. With party values shifting left and right over time, I am likely to shift my vote to the candidate/platform combination that I feel is in the best interests of my country or at least will do the most towards thwarting the least desirable outcome for my country. I think that makes me guilty of being both a swing voter and even worse a strategic swing voter - no brand loyalty - I'm going to need to be convinced each time and even then I might vote for my second choice if my first choice looks hopeless.* Regardless, I take voting very seriously and have missed voting only once since I turned 18.

If you haven't read Margret's article yet (to save your brain after my convoluted rambling), what she did is pair up vales she wanted vs. values she didn't. I think she hits a lot of nails on the head. ***** The truth is that I am proud of my country and the notion that Canada's are caring and responsible people and frankly, if my taxes are going to pay the salaries of 308 federal politicians, I'd like to get my money's worth out of all their talents and skills with all of them working together to make my country better. I also strongly dislike being lied to or being mislead. I expect politicians to have their ear to the ground, and be willing to change their policies when the hear Canadians disagree with it - even if it makes them look indecisive. I'd much rather a flip-flopping politician that listens to their electorate than one that will stubbornly push something through so they don't have to explain why they changed their minds. I want my leader's to have a positive vision for Canada and focus their time in parliament on achieving goals, winning future elections based on their strong leadership, rather than on how much money they raised to air attack ads and how much time they wasted in parliament trying to make the others look bad.

So, enough sermonizing, find the things that you want for Canada and vote for your vision or vote for an amazing local candidate that will bring skills and wisdom to our government. Mark May 2nd on your calendar and go and vote. There were ridings won and lost over as few as 17 votes last year - so your vote could count a lot.

***[I qualify this as surprising because I once went to the length of searching the university book store to figure out which Canadian Literature prof would not make me read Margret Atwood - which amusingly meant that I ended up with a white-haired, bushy eyebrowed professor using yellowed hand-written lecture notes from his Dalhousie days - which isn't to say I didn't enjoy the course because surprisingly I did (in spite of it being an English credit that I was forced to take because of my program). I might have to read something by Margret Atwood now - just to see what I missed. (suggestions welcome)]

** (I was in Wajid Khan's riding a few years ago - you can look his storied history on Wikipedia probably)

* {I tried out CBC's Voter Compass tool - which was kind of neat to see where my stance was relative to other parties. Some of the parties had stances on issues that surprised me too.}

***** and she probably hasn't been suffering through all the partisan fantasy ads being shown with hockey. I'm at the point that I have to mute the TV to repress the urge to throw something at it and I think one of the main reasons that I'm glad that this election is over soon is that I can go back to cheering for the Canadian teams without having the distraction of hockey complicated with reality. Go Cannucks!! Go Habs!!****

****[As I'm more optimistic about hockey than politics, next year I plan to be cheering for the Toronto Maple Leafs all the way to the Stanley Cup finals]

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sunny Days....?

I'm writing my blog while looking at a very long to do list.... I'm also eating ice cream after working out. I'm contemplating going to the advance polls to vote - that that requires me to complete a few more steps like brush my hair (okay, likely I'll be wearing a toque and a hood, so its not worth the bother, but you don't want to get into bad grooming habits, right) and putting on socks - that is definitely a necessity. I have a lot to write about, and nothing at the same time. The looming election has mostly left me feeling depressed. You can read whatever you want about my politics into that.... I hope that people go out and vote, that they take their time to read up about the parties, that they take their responsibilities of living in a democratic country as seriously as they do their rights.

We are following the playoffs, another possibly depressing topic as Vancouver is pressed to Game 7 by Chicago, so that leaves me not wanting to talk about that either. Montreal is also in a do-or-die sitch too.

My to-do list is both depressing and uninteresting, but I feel great having had a few days to catch up on sleep and stuff.

And thus... enjoy the pretty picture, its still really cold here, too cold for me to enjoy being outside - although I should be outside with my class this week - weather permitting. The normals are up to a balmy -8 C to -17 C, but thus far we are still in the -22 C range and windy to boot. Brr..... soon hopefully - spring will get here.
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Monday, April 18, 2011

Changing Light

Already, the days have gone from short to long, and while its been a very slight shade cooler than temperature normals, and a week of stiff wind last week left it feeling even colder, the point has been reached where the coldest, harshest part of winter is behind us. Already, I'm impatient for weather that is warm enough to leave my hood down and spend a few hours outside (We've had some - including yesterday), but I'm looking for that -5 C to -10 C, relatively calm stuff that I don't need long underwear for. Sadly, by the time we get there, I'll be hungering for the temperature to crack 0 C. I agree with Townie Bastard, its not the cold, but the duration of it, but it doesn't usually get to me until I know spring is around the corner especially when people back home are starting to get their gardens ready for planting. I'll be fine I'm sure, and I won't be headed for vacation any time soon, but I'm looking forward to a few days off at Easter. I've been flipping randomly through some water colour painting books, and I'm dying for a spell of time off long enough that I can actually crack out the paints.

The sad part about the lengthening days is that they shorten up the Northern Light viewing period. I'm hoping for one last chance to get photos this Wednesday.

Otherwise, its been a very comforting and pleasant weekend. We took some time to visit friends and play kickball (Soccer-baseball as I knew it growing up) and even got 2 games of Euchere in - I'm a bit rusty since my highschool era of near daily play and deadly sharp euchere playing, but I enjoyed it none the less. I got in a reasonable amount of exercise and cooked some healthy food, although the fridge is looking bare for a lack of foodmail. I ate half of the last grapefruit (which I can get at the Northern) and other than that the vegetable contents of my fridge include a red pepper, broccoli, a few strawberries and a bit of spinach (all from the northern), 1 yam and assorted canned and bottled things - and a tonne of carrots that need to be used up. On the up side, the new Co-op opens this Wednesday, meaning hopefully that we finally have two grocery stores that carry fullish grocery fare. I miss foodmail and I don't feel like the reduction in price has made up for what I was saving shopping south, let alone the loss of choices. Still, I'm going to go talk to the managers there and see if I can convince them to add a few fairly unexotic items to their list (namely Source Peach Yogurt and low fat cheddar - well, fat reduced)

Its hard to believe that we are now nearly 2/3rds through April and rapidly approaching May - the time of waiting for 0 C weather - and then June - the scramble for end of year stuff and then onto the summer.... This year has gone so fast its hard to believe.

On the other hand, I'm sending thoughts out in all directions to many folk who have had sad or worrisome news - its been a week of thing after thing - so I'm sending out my vibes and hoping that its of use.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

And how did it get to be 1/3 through April

I don't know where time is going lately - the longer days are lending me a bit more energy (I got up at 7:10 on Sunday). We've been doing this "Happy Hips" yoga lately, and while the last work-out we did was a bit more challanging than our ability level, I can definitely say that I'm improving. But I swear it was March just a day or two ago....

Yesterday was supposed to include a nice long hike (maybe to Blueberry hill), but with the wind a blowing and about 4 cm of fresh snow in the last 2 days - you couldn't see your hand in front of your eyes. Its still 46 km/hr today and tomorrow sounds bitter with 30 km/hr winds and a high of -23 C and a low of -30 C. (Just my luck, I'm going to be outside all day).

I've managed a small amount of knitting, I've stalled at 3/4 of the way through a pair of socks, but I've finished 2 dishclothes. I've been hungrily eyeing a bunch of new patterns, but I don't really see much hope of them getting done in the future.

Funny, I haven't blogged in weeks, and still I don't have a lot to say. Its been a quiet while. We played European Ticket to Ride on Friday night with some neighbours. The names of the cities are in language of the city themselves leaving me wondering where some of them are, but it plays well still. I guess its off to getting a pile of new units off (aka work) the ground and yoga and eating as healthy as possible.

Have a good day!