Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Vancouver Trip 2011: Day 1

Arriving in Vancouver at my friend's house was a surreal experience.  In all the time that we had been friends, I had never actually stayed over at her house.  So this was a virgin experience for me.  We had a lot of plans and a lot of things we wanted to get done but there were a couple things that had to be done at a certain time so we worked out our schedule to work around these events.  We also had to hope that the weather would co-operate, let's just say that for this prairie girl, Vancouver weather is not very desirable.  But Friday dawned and it was bright and sunny ready for us to get up and explore the area that my friend called home.

We walked down to Victoria and looked at all the stores on the street.  We bought some groceries from the stores and then headed home to have breakfast.  Let's just say the eating habits on this trip left something to be desired for my dieting and workout regime but holidays always seem to screw with eating habits.  The markets on Victoria were very quaint but it got me to thinking about the billingual laws of Canada and how these Asian business get away without even having English in their stores?  After that we hung out in my friend's suite and got ready for our night. 

I have been wanting to learn to curl my hair with my flatiron for ages and I was finally able to do that. Thanks to my friend who patiently showed me how to do this task I can now say that I know how to curl my hair with a flatiron.  Here is a picture of the finished look.

Once we were both beautified we headed out to meet her boyfriend so we could catch the game and have a bit to eat.  We tried to go to Burnaby's for a meal but it was packed so we checked out the Cactus Club.  We were able to get a seat in the dining room right in front of the television.  It was a good night, the game had a horrible beginnig, but the food and company made up for the poor showing of the Canucks. I can't say I was sad, I mean San Jose won, but being in Canuck country did not make me brave enough to cheer out loud. 

After the game was over and Vancouver was sad because their team was not going to sweep this series, we headed into Richmond to check out nightmarket.  That is an experience for sure.  It's like a huge outdoor flea market at night.  The stalls are set up in this huge area by the water and the stalls are predominantly Asian inspired.  But you can find lot's of things for electronics, beauty accessories, and food.  I found tonnes of cell phone covers for my Iphone 4.  I even found a cover with a flip cover to protect my screen. I was so happy with my finds.  But there were all kinds of things that would invite shoppers of all kinds.  It's definitely something people should check out when they are in Vancouver.  It's on Friday and Saturday Nights in Richmond by Cathay Importers.

My friend and her boyfriend indulged in some food stalls, but I was still full from supper so I passed.  After our Nightmarket adventures we headed back to Burnaby where my friend's boyfriend lived and we spent the night at his place.  It was a good first day, we didn't accomplish a whole lot that was on our list but we had some great times doing the things we did!!

The next day was filled with more fun filled adventures!!!

Monday, 30 May 2011

Organizing My Life!!

Ok I admit it, I have too much shit!! Too much stuff that is cluttering up my house, stuff that needs to find a new loving home, stuff that I can so do without because it is in the bottom of some bin in my basement and has not seen the light of day for years.  So why am I holding onto it??  You got me?

I even got two new cookie sheets a couple weeks ago and instead of tossing my old cookie sheets I just added the new ones to the old ones, like I would ever use the old ones again. Well maybe I would for camping but then they don't need to be in my cupboard anymore.  And my basement is a natural disaster zone, you can't walk through it without stubbing toes on stuff.  I also have too many clothes and need to purge my closet.  It's hard for me to do this, because I am sure that I will wear some of these clothes again, but maybe if I just get rid of them I won't worry about having to wear them again.  The same could be said about my shoes.  Now my shoe collection is not as extensive as some that I know but I have large rubber maid containers of shoes that I need to purge because I may wear them all but I only wear a few frequently and hey it would give me a reason to buy newer shoes!!

I know that I even have some baby stuff that I could purge from my life.  I am still planning to add another mouth to my family, but there were some things that we didn't really use with Little Man so I doubt I will use them with the next baby.  It would also be great if my basement wasn't just a dumping ground for baby stuff and it was organized in a specific area.  That's what I want and that is going to be my next big job.  That way I can get rid of a bunch of stuff hopefully and life will be great then!!

Vancouver Trip 2011: Preparation

May long has forever been a weekend of great apprehension for me. It's the weekend that is supposed to kick of summer and for the most part I always find it falls flat.  If I go camping it rains or, worse, snows.  If I stay in town it's hot out and I wish I was at the lake.   Never since I was sixteen have I had a great May Long weekend, it's kind of like New Year's Eve, so I decided to make a change this year.  I decided I was going to go to Vancouver to visit friends. 

I found a great deal on Westjet and I booked my flight, made arrangements with a girlfriend to set up my jewelry to do show one night and it was all set to go.  A week before the trip one girlfriend said she couldn't do the show anymore so I asked another friend who said she was willing.  Then it was about planning out my trip, setting up things I wanted to do while I was there.  Some of the things that topped my list were going to the Ocean and Stanley Park.  I also wanted to see some of the sights of Vancouver I hadn't seen before like Queen Elizabeth Park, Wreck Beach and Grouse Grind. 

The girlfriend I was staying with suggested we see Sun Yat Sen Garden, and visit Chinatown.  She also suggested we check out the Flea Market, a club one night and Night Market.  There was  a definite theme to the things she wanted to show me, it was really interesting to see Vancouver through her eyes so I was excited to try these different experiences.

I flew out Thursday night and arrived in Vancouver at 11:30pm.  The first night my girlfriend and I just sat around her apartment and visited.  It had been two years since we had actually seen each other face to face, the last time she had come down to visit just after my father had passed away.  So it was great to see her and to be able to catch up without having a phone tucked into my ear.  Then it was 4 days of busy times so I went to sleep waiting for the next day.

Joining the Millionaires' Club

Winning the lottery, or creating something that then offers me the luxury of making millions of dollars is a dream many people have.  I am definitely not exempt of this dream.  Often times I find myself daydreaming about all the places I would go if my bank had a higher balance than it does at this point in my life, Greece, Hawaii, Scotland, Ireland, Norway just to name a few.  Purchasing a house or houses and reliable cars and paying off debts would also rate high on the list.  But, it is the philanthropy that I would find the most fulfilling.  Having an exuberant amount of cash in the bank would greatly change any one's life, and I know exactly how my life would change.

The travelling bug bit me at a young age, I am not sure if it bit me so much as embedded itself deep within my psyche, but I love to travel.  My trips have taken me across the western states and across Canada, but I have never crossed an ocean or been on a tropical vacation.  Having a surplus of money in the bank would allow my trips to become more elaborate and exclusive.  I dream of travelling all around Greece and Europe.  I would love to go on a cruise but a year long cruise so that I could disembark for long periods and explore all areas of this planet.  I would spend time in the Caribbean and South America, go on a safari to Africa, travel around the world and learn of all the new cultures I came into contact with.  Travelling would be one of the best things to happen to me if I was able to have millions in the bank.

Before any travelling could occur there are a few things on which I would have to spend a portion of the money.  Paying off debts like student loans and mortgages and the like would top that list.  I would then make sure that I bought my dream house in Lake Tahoe, and if not just purchase it, contract it out to be built exactly as I dreamt it to be exactly where I want it to be.  Lavishly, helping out my family and close friends I would buy them a house or pay off their mortgages and gift them with a new and reliable car.   Ensuring that each was able to enjoy some of the vacations I went on as well.  One exuberant purchase I would make would be to have my hairdresser on retainer, she could work in her own shop but I would pay her every year so that she could be at my beck and call to do my hair when I wanted, even if I just needed a relaxing shampoo and head massage.  I think besides the house in Tahoe, I would have another house close to my family but I would also have an RV so that I could travel around.  Let's be serious some of the new RVs are amazing so it's not like I would not be living in comfort on the road.  Having nice things is great but sharing those riches with others is even better.

Generously giving of my money and myself to important charities is something else I would dedicate my life to.  The planet is in need of much help for it's citizens and any time I could get involved with physically helping out I would volunteer my time.  There are some charities I feel very strongly about but I am not very scientifically inclined so to those charities I would throw benefits or just donate money when I could.  I am loving the new show on ABC that has millionaires incognito and they go out and help regular citizens that are doing great things.  A friend of mine always says that when she wins she is going to drive along a highway and then give herself a flat tire and the first person that stops to see if they can help her, she is going to give them some cash.  I think it's a great idea and I would love to do that, just to help celebrate the goodness in the hearts of people.  Helping to improve this world in the generosity of the human spirit is a goal for me, regardless of how much money I have.

Millions of dollars would definitely change my life and the lives of the ones I love.  Being able to freely travel the globe and seeing all the amazing sites on this planet would be a dream come true.  Buying dream homes and helping out my family with their living situations in a positive manner makes me feel good about sharing my luck and living without debt would be a great relief.  But it's the changes that could be made to the people whom I do not know that would satisfy me the most, knowing that I had helped to alter a persons life because of the goodness in their heart just proves to me that the power of goodness has greater strength than all the evil that the news propagates.  My life would definitely change, but I feel that it would change for the better and allow me to live out my dreams and help me to help others.

No this hasn't happened yet, but I have faith that one day it will. Maybe not the lottery but I am sure I could find something to help me realize this lol :P

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Burgers, Burgers, Burgers

A few weeks ago I had posted on Facebook that I made some delish bacon cheese burgers.  I had altered my bacon burger recipe slightly and just that slight improvement created a fabulous burger.

Last time I made bacon burgers I ground up the bacon and it made the burgers dry.  This time, I only cut up the bacon into larger chunks.  It made all the difference.

Here is the recipe as I did it with some pictures.
12 pieces of bacon
1 lb of hamburger
2 eggs
bread crumbs
cheese cut into cubes(optional)
Take the bacon and lay it out flat on a cookie sheet.  Bake it in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes at 350 degrees.
Take the bacon out and let it cool.  Prepare your hamburger as you would normally for regular hamburgers.  I use two eggs, bread crumbs, garlic seasoning and onions.  I mix this all up together with my hands to get everything mixed up evenly.
Cut the cooled bacon into cubes and add it to the hamburger meat mixture.  Mix all the ingredients together.  You can at this point shape your meat into patties, and then bake them or grill them.

 Place the cheese into the burger then fold the burger over the cheese so the cheese is in the center.

This time I decided to bake them, we were running low on propane and Adrian wasn't at home so I had to make them myself.  I also altered this recipe by adding the chunks of cheese into the middle of the pattie.

It was a great meal, if you want to try please do and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!!

Friday, 13 May 2011

The Tedious Teaching Tasks

In my life as a teacher there are a few tasks that I find mind numbingly boring.  They are tasks that I can barely motivate myself to correct or complete on any kind of consistant basis.  Some of these tasks are behind the scenes, things the students never see or encounter me doing in front of them, but some of them are obviously part of my planning for my classroom.

It has focused me to think about some of these tasks.  Why do I find them so mind numbing?  If I find them mind numbing, what do my students think of the ones they are being asked to complete?  How can I make some changes so that we all have a better learning experience? 

One of the tasks I hate to correct are assigned questions and worksheets.  HATE!!! I just hate worksheets, I know they are great busy work and a way to get the students to do something while you are planning something else, but seriously they are so tedious to correct that I often find I am ignoring them and I never get to them.  It's sad, but I know which of my students know the assignment, I know which of my students need some extra time on a topic, and I know these things through my conversations with them.  Yet every once in awhile I still hand out worksheets to be completed for my to check, WHY do I do this to myself?  The students expect that they will be marked on what they do, yet I don't always need a numerical number to know if my student understands the concept.  I have been experimenting lately, trying new ways to have my students demonstrate a learning outcome.  It's been much better and for the most part the students are further engaged in the activities to the point where they are taking the activities one step further.  My challenge to myself for the next month and a half is going to be to teach paperlessly.  This is a bit of a problem, since I can't always get the computer lab, but I think I can make it work or I can at least make it so that I do not teach with worksheets for the rest of the school year.

Another task I find that I dislike doing is writing anecdotal notes.  I will do them from time to time, but I am no where near consistent on these habits.  I think it's because I have not found an organized system in order to do these things with.  So I have been looking for something that could possibly help me with that.  I think I have found two solutions that will work simultaneously.  The first step I have to take is to colour code all my classes.  For example, Science 8 would be under red tabs in any marking or planning binders, it would be written in red on any calendar for special events, and an anecdotal notebook would be red, assignments would be kept in red folders, that way anytime I was looking for Science 8 activities I would just look for something red.  I could do this with all my classes.  Then with my anecdotal notes, I would designate a page per student and any time anything of interest occurred I would write it down under that student's name with the date.  It would help me to see patterns developing, which would be awesome at the end of the year or even through the year as things happen.

I am working on finding a way to assess student learning without marking but sometimes I find it difficult and when students are so hung up on the idea of marking and marks it's hard to get them to find away around that number. 

I am looking for ideas and suggestions because I do desire to become an excellent teacher, but sometimes it just takes awhile to find all the things that will create success in a classroom.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Jean M. Auel's Earth Children's series

I have recently joined Goodreads.com, which is a wonderful thing for me because now I can record all the books I have read, and rate them and if I ever forget, well hopefully there is an electronic copy of the list of books I have read.  I am trying to read 100 books this year, but we will see how it's going, I have read 29 books so far, if I picked books that weren't 1000 pages maybe I could read more, but I seem to like these long stories.

I started rereading the Earth Children's series by Jean M Auel.  The sixth book just recently came out in hardcover and I was able to purchase it at Costco the other day.  It was perfect timing as I was on the fifth book "Shelter of Stones, and was really looking forward to the release of the sixth and final book.  I have thoroughly enjoyed this series, I have read the first three books like 4 times now, but this is my second time reading the 4th and 5th book.  All in all I feel this series is a great series to spend time reading and the characters are great characters to get to love.

The first book is "Clan of the Cave Bear".  It is set in Europe during the ice age.  It introduces characters that are what we may call cave men, who don't quite resemble the humans we have evolved into, yet they are so close that to call them animals is not right either.  The clan comes across a young girl who has been injured after an earthquake took her family from her.  They care for her and although not all in the clan agree, raise her as one of their own.  Ayla is the main character, her precocious attitude and desire to learn and develop new ways of doing things is foreign to her 'family' but she tries hard to conform to their ways even though it goes against all her instincts.  Ayla grows up faster than most girls now but she is slow in developing in comparison to her clan family.  After some brutal encounters with one clan member that hates her, she is blessed with the thing she desires most, but even that is a trying time for her to overcome. Ayla is a character you can't help but love, her innocence and intelligence and loving heart endears her to everyone she meets, including the readers of this series, you can't help but want to continue on her journey.

The second book is "The Valley of the Horses".  I found this one to be a bit slower in developing simply because she is all alone.  We are also then introduced to Jondalar and Thonolan who are making a journey from far off to the east.  Ayla encounters the men after some devastating losses.  Ayla is able to try things and do different things simply because no one is around to tell her it can't be done, or that it's not something that is done.  With this freedom, Ayla is able to further her journey in developing her skills and experimenting with new things.  Jondalar and Ayla form a bond and Jondalar helps Ayla learn to communicate again with people who are not Clan.  Together they embark on a further journey to help Ayla rejoin the citizens she was born to as she leaves her clan life behind.

The third book, "The Mammoth Hunters" brings the reader into contact with the first people that Ayla is officially accepted by outside of the clan.  Regardless, of her upbringing and who she considers family, these people are able to see through this and understand the greatness that Ayla possess.  We also see Ayla and Jondalar struggle with communication and as they try to overcome problems that arise from Ayla's upbringing.  Ayla is also learning that just because she always did something one way doesn't mean it is expected in all social situations.  I personally found Jondalar to have had his head up his ass in this book.  Most of the misunderstandings stem from Jondalar's pride and refusal to just talk to Ayla about things.  It's clear that she doesn't understand, but he just assumes she knows what is going on.  I do find that I liked Jondalar less after this book, he seems rather possessive.

The Plains of Passage is the fourth book.  This book is very descriptive in the landscape that Ayla and Jondalar cover on their journey back to Jondalar's people.  Ayla and Jondalar encounter many people and all the people are willing to take on Ayla even though she was raised by 'flatheads' which is what people who look like Ayla call the Clan.  There is a huge prejudice to these people, simple because they look different and because they do not try to interact, there seems to be some understanding as to the division of land.  Ayla brings with her insight and understanding to these people and forces the people she meets to spend some time reevaluating their views of 'flatheads'.  In the end Ayla and Jondalar are successful in making it to his home.  I was sad when they made it there, I felt sad for Ayla because she was always being pushed/ forced to leave her people so she can make Jondalar happy. She is such an endearing character but sometimes I just want to slap her and tell her to say no to Jondalar.

The Shelter of Stones is the fifth book.  It describes Ayla finally getting her wish to be mated to Jondalar, but she still has to overcome prejudices and resentful people because she is the one Jondalar chose to be with.  It's a wonderful story that begins a healing journey for the people to start accepting differences as opposed to rejecting them and condemning those who are different.  It's not all easy and it's not a complete change but it is a start.  Ayla's decision to not try things just because they had never been done leads her to help open the eyes of the people she has chosen to live with.  Still Ayla struggles to appease everyone, but she does not understand the prejudices against the people who raised her or why it is so derogatory to have been connected with them.

I know it's not much of a book review right now, I am not even sure how a proper book review should be done, but I just think that if you ever want to get lost in historical fiction this may be a great series to delve into.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Mother's Day

Throughout the year we have some great Hallmark holidays, days that society has dictated to society that they should buy cards for a special person. These days include Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day and St. Patrick's Day seems to becoming one of these days as well. The only two of these that I feel are appropriate are Mother's and Father's Day.

I agree that Mother's and Father's should be celebrated, and I love the cards I get for Mother's Day and the gifts.  I also love Father's Day, it was always a special day in my life growing up and now more so because Dad is gone do I find that I appreciate it more each year.  I am not a fan of Valentine's Day, for romance I much prefer that to be celebrated all year, not on a day I can see coming on the calendar.  Just a personal bias.

Now I am hoping that everyone out there had a great Mother's Day, whether you are a mother or were just celebrating with your mother.  I had a fantastic Day.  I got a free day, I was free to do whatever I wanted and it was wonderful!!!  I began my day with a few snuggles from Little Man early in the morning before Mr. A took him out of the room to let me sleep in. At 10:00 am I rolled out of bed and ventured down the hallway to see what was cooking.  The aroma of coffee greeted me at the top of the stairs and Little Man ran up the steps to give me a huge hug.  Chan then came upstairs and gave me a hug and I was able to open my gift.  Little Man made me a bird house and Chan and Mr. A got me a gift certificate to Totally Refreshed Steam and Spa for a spa treatment of my choice.  YEAH!!! Mr. A did it again, he listened to my hints that I left him,   I then played some Sims 3 while Mr. A made some waffles and bacon for brunch.  Mr. A's mom Diane came over for brunch and I visited with her while Mr. A finished brunch.  We sat down for brunch and afterwards I played more Sims 3, it was a great day of doing nothing. I was so pumped because it is not very often that I get to sit around and do nothing, so when I can I completely relish in the activity of my choice.

It was a great hallmark holiday!!!

Happy Mother's Day to all you out there as well!!!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Routes of Writing

I have recently joined Goodreads.com where I can rate books, look at what other people are saying about books and I can also share my writing on this site within different groups.  It's been a pleasure and blast having only been signed up with them for a week or so.  In one of the groups I joined they have a monthly writing contest where you can submit a story in a certain genre and the other members of the group can vote for their favourite.

This month the main genre is romance with the secondary genre being fantasy.  Now either genre will be accepted so you can submit one story a month, but it has to fit into one of the two genres otherwise you are disqualified.  I decided I wanted to try to write a story that I could post and I wanted to do a romance story.  I love my chick lit stories about romance, but I wasn't sure if I could write one. It's not like a lot of romantic things have happened to me in my life. I mean really I am the girl that continued to go on a date with a guy that had asked me if I was pregnant again!?!?!?!  I will tell that story later.

So I thought I had finally came up with a good storyline.  I am taking it a little from my past when I had a secret admirer, yes at one point in my life I had a secret admirer, it was scintillating,  no it wasn't I was in grade 4. :p So I thought the storyline could follow a young heroine as she found love from an unexpected source and saw that it wasn't what she saw as imperfections but what others saw as strength of character that made people love her. 

It definitely was not going to be a harlequin romance story, but it would be a romantic story.  However, as I put pen to paper, yes I am a little old fashioned like that and tend to do my best work that way, the story started taking on it's own agenda.  I was a little surprised at the route it took, but I am enjoying writing it.  It may be added to my Locker Stories collection. 

I just find it so amazing how stories when you are true to the story you are writing will lead you to some fantastic places.  It's always a journey, as it should be, for the writer and when someone reads it they get to go on a similar journey that you went on the first time you wrote the draft.  This character is definitely coming to life, much like Princess Leia's hologram on Star Wars, but she's not flickering as much.  When I am done I will post some of the story up here.

I am having a great time writing though!!!  Maybe I will finish a book this summer yet, I mean I do have some long drives ahead of me, where I will be the passenger.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

DIY Wedding Project #2

The Do It Yourself Wedding Projects are driving me crazy!!!  I just don't feel that creative and sometimes it is just about enough to drive me crazy. I think I have figured out what my next project will be and I need to complete it this weekend.  The project is my wedding favours.  I am making 60 favours as I have about 50 confirmed guests.  Yeah for a small wedding sometimes wish it were smaller but maybe it still will turn out to be smaller.

I wanted to do something for my wedding that would be personal to both Adrian and I and something that our guest could keep if they wanted.  That's when I started looking around my house for ideas of things Adrian and I both liked.  What were somethings we collected and displayed around our home that if people saw they would be like, oh yeah that's so Jenn and Adrian.

We have a plethora of stuff in our house.  We have hundreds of DVDs, thousands of photographs, hundreds of books (mostly mine), tools (mostly Adrian's) and shot glasses.  Wait! Shot glasses that could work.  Yeah personalized shot glasses, but now how to personalize them and where do you get 60 shot glasses at a time without begging a bar for them??

After some inquiries I found that Costco has another reason for me to love it, they sell shot glasses!!  So off to Costco I go to buy my 5 dozen shot glasses.  I am just looking for plain shot glasses or maybe even wide short shot glasses.  Will have to see what they have in stock.

My next stop will be to Michael's the craft store. I may even check out a Dollar store.  I am looking for toole that is precut into circles that I can gather up around the shot glass and tie with a ribbon at the top to complete the party favour.  So at Michael's or the Dollar store I will be buying white toole and some blue coloured ribbon.

I want to find out the cost of engraving versus finding a sticker to put onto the glass.  If the engraving isn't too expensive we will do that, but if it is too costly I am planning to just have stickers made up with the same info to put onto the glasses.  I realize that the sticker may not last forever but maybe I can find one that will.  It's all about research.

While I was in Vegas, I had gone to the M&Ms shop and bought some personalized M&Ms. I had mine and Adrian's name engraved on them along with our wedding date and rings and wedding bell on the other side. They were in pale blue and teal (our wedding colours) in total it cost me $35 to get a large container. I may need more but I can order them online so I can do that if I run out.

So there is the plan for the wedding favour. 

And as I typed this up I came up with another thought, maybe I will if it's not too expensive create some wedding photo albums with pictures of us from our engagement and life together but with some empty places to be able to send all our guests photos from the wedding of us, and pictures of them with us at the wedding. Hmmmmm maybe that is something I should consider.....

I will post more as I go through the process of creating these little favours!!!

Monday, 2 May 2011

Is this the end of terrorism??

I received an email a few weeks ago from lovely Mr. A, it had a bunch of short little notes just commenting on the state of society or events in history.  One said

DearDear World,
Please stop freaking out about 2012. Our calendars ends there because some Spanish d-bags invaded our
country and we got a little busy ok?
The Mayans

Another said
Dear America ,
You produced Miley Cyrus. Bieber is your punishment.

and still another said

Dear Osama Bin Laden,
United States

I must said the produced some giggles from me.  I enjoy funny emails, but if you didn't know the context of these jokes they might not be funny.  How funny would it be if Bin Laden had responded

Dear United States
Osama Bin Laden

And now we are dealing with the death of Osama Bin Laden.  How do you feel about it?

I am personally relieved, but it was not something I was thinking of every day.  Every once in awhile some rogue thought would enter my head and it would trigger the question, "where is that guy?", but it was not the most pressing issue I was considering.  I guess that is how it goes with life.  We have things that take center stage for a few minutes because they are such epic events but since they don't directly affect us every minute of every day they fade into the background and we stop thinking about them.

I am glad that the task force that went into get Osama did so in a way that let us know for sure that he was dead and was not a mission that could kill a large number of innocent people.  I am sure it will come out that some innocent people were killed in this attack, but it wasn't 3000 people who went to work or got on flight that had to pay for the actions of a country.  People that did not have a direct say in the actions the government took, yes they had an indirect say but they did not have a direct say for what they paid for in retaliation. 

I am by no means throwing stones while I stand in my country's glass house. I know that blame can be traced back to this action or that action.  The blame goes back and forth between all nations all the way back to the time of civilization. 

Maybe this won't solve anything, but it was a more precise mission that was successful with as few civilian casualties as possible at least based on news reports. 

I am hoping that this won't lead to more retaliation, I am hoping that this will be a place where the world together says,"it's time we put our differences aside and let bygones be bygones."

Only time will tell!!!

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Article Review MacLean's Magazine

I am a proud subscriber to MacLean's Magazine. I love getting that magazine in my mailbox, it is so much fun and it helps to make me feel like I am staying on top of the news, which if I am honest I don't do that often, hardly ever really will you see me watching the news.  I know bad, bad girl, I should watch the news more, but I just don't it's depressing.

A couple weeks ago the cover of MacLean's magazine had a picture of the Pope and the title asked if the Pope was Catholic.  It intrigued me and I kept it around hoping to have a chance to read it.  Which I finally got to do at the breakfast table as I wolfed down my cereal and it was a really interesting article. 

I should preface this to say that I was a little disappointed when Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benidict XVI .  I did not have a lot of faith in him, and felt that he would be a very conservative pope which would not necessarily be the best thing for the Catholic Church especially since there seems to be some struggles with Catholicism in today's society.  This could be said of all religions, but as I am Catholic I will keep it to my religion and I won't make assumptions on anyone else's religion.

Pope Benedict XVI is turning out to be a surprising pope, he's not making all kinds of changes, but he is putting a voice to Catholic beliefs that are embracing change and reiterating values that were brought to light back in the second Vatican council nearly 50 years ago.  I am pleasantly surprised by what I read about what he has done and what he has said and wrote.  It's not a cure all by any means, but it is a step in the right direction.

One thing this Pope will for surely be known for is his involvement in the sexual abuse scandal that continues to plague the Catholic Church. It seems through history that the Church is always connected to one sexual abuse case or another.  It discolours what the Church actually stands for and what actual good Catholics want to be known for. In the past many of these sexual abuse cases have been shush, and brushed under the rug.  The priests and bishops of the dioceses have been "protected" by the Church. Initially the Pope seemed to be following along in his predecessors footsteps, but his response as reported is " [the Pope] has been open about the scope of the abuse and the harm inflicted; he has met time and again with victims to express his personal sorrow; he has condemned bishops for their actions -and failures to act- as well as the criminal priests they ignored or sheltered; and he has made it clear that is is the welfare of the children, not the reputation of the Church that matters." (Maclean's April 25, 2011 p. 34).  It is this stance that has begun the warming of this Catholic's heart to the 'new' pope.

The Pope has also opened communications between different belief groups, the Muslims, Atheists, and even other Christians who have become disillusioned with their Church.  The pope does not want their to be an argument between faith and science.  The "big questions of our times" need to be answered but they do not have to be answered at the expense of one groups beliefs but in fact can be made so that everyone can have a better understanding of the other groups frame of mind.  It's the joining of humans together in society to live peaceably that should be the goal for all humanity not just religious groups.
In fact the Pope not only says Evolution is a viable theory but that is shows the "language of God" and goes on to say "In the magnificent mathematics of creation which today we can read in the human genetic code, we do recognize the language of God.  the functional truth about man has been discovered." (35)  Thus confirming that evolution only further proves God's creations and their ability to adapt.  The Church has not always done things to endear them to the Muslim community.  The Pope has also enraged this same community with "medieval anti-Muhammad remarks" (33) but he has gone back to repair those relationships with these people by visiting countries with high Muslim populations.  It is his ability to admit to his mistakes and to move forward to make amends with those he has hurt that has garnered him more respect from this Catholic.

Another important aspect that stuck out while I was reading this article was the Pope declaring the exoneration of Jews for the death of Jesus. Which is often a a matter of many disputes that can turn into wars. (WWII for example).  The Pope is quoted as saying, "Now we must ask, who exactly were Jesus' accusers?  Who insisted that he be condemned to death?  According to John it was simply 'the Jews' but John's use of the expression does not in any way indicate - as the modern reader might suppose- the people of Israel in general, even less is it racist in character.  In John's Gospel this word has a precise and  clearly defined meaning: the Temple aristocracy." (35).  Many hatreds have been bread because of the these beliefs and for the Pope to come out and call out all Catholics, and Christian's alike to take a look at why they are holding on to such beliefs offers people to address their own thoughts about racism and prejudices.

One other sort of noteworthy point in the article are the Pope's comments on condoms.  I mean really who ever thought that the Pope would say anything other than condoms are evil and should not be used. No instead the Pope said that their may be times when condoms should be used, most specifically with HIV/AIDS victims not wanting to spread the disease to their partners.  The use of condoms in the respect for human life could be a tolerated.

It's not perfect, but much like religion it is a step to better understanding this world we live in.  I am proud to be a Catholic although we have a sordid history that often clouds what the general population of Catholics believes in or stands for.  If you ever wonder just ask us, we will tell you that it's not about you believing what we believe but that we accept each other as human gifts and I am pleasantly surprised with the actions of this Pope.