Friday, June 27, 2008

Holding Zimbabwe in my heart

Today, as my heart aches for the people of Zimbabwe who are left with so little to hope for in an election that is not really an election, I wrote this note to my friend Pugeni...

Pugeni – my prayers are with you and all of the people of Zimbabwe today. I pray that God will see you through this time, and that your hopeful hearts and loving spirits will continue to shine through the shadows. I pray that peace and justice will come to your country in the months to come.

Every time I hear of Zimbabwe in the news, I think of you and your ready smile and teasing wit. I think of the fun we had when you first walked on snow and learned what a Slurpee is. I think of the way you challenged me to continue to seek justice and equality for people who live with hunger. I think of the way you marvelled at my big North American house and how you made me realize just how much I have to give away.

Peace be with you. I hope to see you again some day.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


We went out for lunch today to celebrate the birthday of our receptionist, a university student who's working here for her summer job. She just turned 20.

After lunch, it occurred to me that I am wearing a skirt that I got when she was about 2 years old.

Either I'm old, or I keep my clothes too long. Or both.

Monday, June 23, 2008

June has eaten me alive

It’s been one of those months. The kind of month that sucks you in at the beginning, chews you up, and then spits you out the other side. There have been very few pauses in this crazy whirlwind of a month. A business trip to Toronto, a week of board meetings, a big event for our organization’s 25th anniversary (which I mc’d and did much of the organizing for), three weekend-long soccer tournaments (two of which were across the border into the States), multiple soccer games and/or practices almost every night of the week, meetings with out-of-town staff… I am exhausted. And chewed up into little bits.

This morning, when it occurred to me that Summer is officially upon us and I barely had a chance to slow down and enjoy Spring, I was left with an unsettled, dissatisfied feeling. It’s all slipping by too fast. I need to hit the pause button.

Fortunately, after this week is over (another busy week), soccer will end, work will slow down, and Folk Festival will be just around the corner.

On another note, I don’t know how much longer I’ll be blogging. It’s becoming less and less of a priority and interest.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Birthday girls

Julie shares her birthday with a couple of her friends. This is one of them - they had soccer games on adjacent fields tonight.


I am home and travel weary. Four sleeps in various beds across southern Ontario (business travel). One sleep in a bed in Grand Forks (soccer tournament). Too many meetings. Too many polite-introductions-followed-by-polite-small-talk conversations. Too many hours in too many cars on too many speeding freeways. Too many “I’ll just forgive myself for eating these few extra bites” meals.

It occurs to me – after a week of traveling in relatively familiar territory – that the degree of familiarity of the space I am in does not necessarily equal the degree to which I will feel at home. In fact, I can (and did) feel completely at home in a remote village on a remote island off the coast of India, wandering down a dirt path holding the hand of a complete stranger whose command of English is minimal. Conversely, I can feel utterly out of place in a room full of people who’ve been raised in the same country, with the same language, and essentially the same faith traditions as I was raised with.

It begs the question “who is my neighbour?” And another question “how do I make sure people feel at home in my presence?”

Monday, June 09, 2008

Just because

Make a wish...

Friday, June 06, 2008

Growing up

We rush through the stages with the first one, excited for every new thing they do. By the time the third child comes around, it's become old hat and, when we look back, we can barely remember when they cut their first tooth, when they learned to walk, or when they first said "mommy".

Sometimes I'm caught off guard how much Maddie has developed while I was busy not paying enough attention. Today she was determined to cook me lunch. She had a little trouble with the can opener (note to self: buy a left-handed can opener if she continues to show an interest in cooking), but once it was opened, she emptied the soup into the pot, added the water, stirred it while it got hot, then ladeled it into my bowl. She also opened a can of juice concentrate, added water, stirred, and filled a glass for me. She was very proud to sit down with me and eat the meal she had prepared.

"Tomorrow, maybe I'll cook you supper and you and Daddy can just sit and relax."

Here's hoping she'll soon be cooking me the kind of meals Liz gets to enjoy when her kids cook!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Completely random

Not that I necessarily thought she would have made the best president, but I’m a little disappointed we won’t see a woman leading the most powerful country in the world for at least another 4 years. Perhaps we can at least hope for the first person of colour. (We already had our first woman Prime Minister in Canada, but she didn’t last very long.)


Speaking of woman in leadership, I wish it weren’t only the alpha females (the ones who seem to do the best at imitating the styles of their male counterparts) who rise to the highest positions of leadership. We need more women in leadership, but we need more variety in the leadership styles women bring with them too.


Biking home from a soccer game last night, Nikki was in a particularly chatty mood (it helped that she won “player of the game” for the second time this season). “We’re studying the first world war in school right now. I told Madame I wished we would study the second world war instead, because that’s the one I know the most about. Like how Hitler killed 6 million Jews and blah, blah, blah (the details she spouts off don’t always stick in my less-detail-oriented brain). I was reading Grandpa’s history books the other night and…” That’s the detail that sticks in my brain because that’s the moment my eyes filled with tears as I had a mental picture of my dad delighting in a conversation about the war with his history-obsessed twelve-year-old granddaughter. He’d get that sideways smirk on his face and we’d all know how proud he was. I only wish it could happen.


To the spammers who’ve taken over my in-box – I DO NOT WANT a blue sexy pill! I do not want it in the rain, I do not want it while in Spain. I do not want it with a mouse, I do not want it in my house. I DO NOT WANT it Sam I Am!


The other night my sister and I went to a funky little downtown coffeehouse/art gallery to hear a musician who (whom?) I’d heard on the radio and was intrigued with. They had an open mike, so 4 different musicians got up to play, then they had an opening band, and then they had the two headliners. In all, we heard 7 talented musicians (almost as many musicians as there were audience members). A couple of them didn’t float my boat, but all of them were more talented than almost anyone you hear on pop radio these days (I have preteen girls and have to listen to WAY too much pop radio). It just doesn’t make sense that Britney Spears can make millions and these amazing musicians have to eek out a meagre existence playing hole-in-the-wall coffee houses. Where’s the justice?


To the “competent” people at the “lovely” car dealership who have already “fixed” our blinking traction control light twice in a couple of months, charging us $340 each time and telling us it was two different sensors that both coincidentally broke within months and THEN having the nerve to tell us (the third time we brought the car in for the SAME blinking light less than a week later) that it was yet another “new” problem, but they would be SO generous as to give us 50% off the next repair job and only charge us $400 – DO YOU THINK WE’RE STUPID? Oh and the “free” oil change you so “generously” gave us when Marcel pointed out that you had very obviously charged us too much labour – can I watch you DRINK the oil instead? Just one more thing… about the “customer service” woman who argued with me on the phone and basically called me a liar, can you point out to her that her title means that she “serves the customer”? Maybe she needs a refresher.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The graduate

Five and a half years have passed, and Marcel is finished University.
Fifteen years ago, I married a truck driver who was a high school drop-out. Now I'm married to a teacher with two degrees. I guess you CAN teach an old dog new tricks!