Friday, January 30, 2009

soapbox, perhaps

because you cannot turn your head without hearing or reading about the ECONOMIC DOWNTURN, i have a little something (else) to say about it too. i had coffee with my top colombian chum yesterday and he made a really good point, one that i think we often forget. he said, and i have to agree with him, that these types of crises are commonplace in so many other countries, especially in latin america. there have been economic crises, recoveries, absolute meltdowns, among other daily struggles in so many other parts of the world. people living through such things have learned to become industrious, resourceful, and hopeful in light of so-called impending doom.

and people from those countries, including colombia, are now living and working and prospering in canada. it is my prediction that it is these communities that will weather this economic storm better than anyone else and may come out the winners in the us, the uk, and canada. he also used an ever favourite english expression to recommend that canadians should just 'chill out.'

similarly, i am not so sure why canadians are up in arms about obama's economic stimulus package that includes a 'buy american' clause. how on earth can canadians say that these are unlawful protectionist policies that break trade law? we would do the exact same thing, international protocol or not. remember that little problem with the beef years ago? same thing. we rallied around our beef industry and insisted on exclusively buying canadian beef and gave all those who didn't the evil stink eye. and i think that that was an appropriate response, just as americans trying to save their own mortgages is the right response for them. now, it is our dorky pm's job to play the game, be diplomatic, and represent canadian interests. and stay away from vests of any persuasion.

and you knew it was coming, everyone is going to have something to say about the woman who just gave birth to octuplets in california. my first instinct is to think this is a product of a private health care system that would allow someone to pay for fertility treatment even though they already had 6 children and that i cannot understand a mother choosing to put 8 lives in danger rather than reducing the number of fetuses early on. but as one doctor put it, his job is not to police births, but to provide information and education to parents. and we would all be in serious trouble if our doctors were allowed to police our behaviour, yet i think in an environment where we enjoy the benefits of public health care, the burden those babies will put on our health care system may change that thinking. a little Handmaid's Tale-esque, but it does make me think.

luckily for me, i am not raising 14 children so i won't need to think about it for too long and get back to organising my daytimer to fit all my commitments and engagements in while enjoying this great weather with a run tonight!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

scowly face vs illfitting vest

i don't know why, but this photo struck me. ignatieff looks mean and menacing and not the person that i want making the fateful decision about our government. but it could be this guy, which is far more frightening:

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

my pick for best film at the oscar's

all the hype is real, you should make time to go and watch Slumdog Millionaire. my sister and i went on the weekend and i wasn't thrilled about seeing it, just mildly interested to see what everyone (and oprah) were on about, but i am so glad that i spent my sunday afternoon watching this movie.

Slumdog Millionaire is unapologetically realistic in many ways and yet a fairy tale love story in others. for me, it all came together and although i was slightly on edge the entire movie as i worried and wondered what would happen next, i felt smarter, more aware, and better for having seen it.

perhaps this is because one of the movie's central themes is human trafficking (even though it is not called this by name at any point in the film), an injustice that i have spent over 2 years working to address, first 2 years in kenya and now back in calgary. and from that perspective, it is good to see this issue depicted in a form such as this.

go see it!

Friday, January 23, 2009

small step for womenkind

obama signed an executive order today that removes the ban on funding to programs or agencies that support women's right to choose to have an abortion. i hope he also chooses to sign a similar order that would remove the obstacles in obtaining american funding for programs that take a harm reduction approach to commercial sex work because for the last 8 years, organisations that do anything less than remove women from the sex trade were ineligible for funding. proposals written to american donors also had to say 'prostitution' rather than 'commercial sex work' or 'transactional sex.' and it made my job a little tough when i had to go through and find and replace all instances of 'commercial sex work' with 'prostitution' in any work i submitted to them. it also hurt my heart a little bit when i had to do it.

maybe this will also be a sign to countries like kenya that keep abortion illegal, forcing women out to the streets' chopshops when they have unwanted pregnancies, to change their thinking.

may i also mention that in kenya, a wife cannot prosecute their husband for forcing them to have sex as rape cannot legally occur within a marriage under the Sexual Offenses Act of the country...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

a full dance card

i am dealing with a titch of the overwhelmption* this week. having two jobs is starting to tax my time and energy levels; this week i had to juggle my commitments to fit them all into working hours. i am enjoying both my jobs (or contracts, i suppose i should say) for very different reasons and i am seeing a future for myself in both these roles. one of my priorities when i was searching for a job was to secure something that would allow me to segue back into the international (development?) world one day and i feel confident that i have managed that.

this week i also started my spanish classes and was told that i read like a mexican! which i am taking as compliment considering it was in spanish. i liked the way the language felt in my mouth and even caught myself thinking in spanish this morning.

tomorrow is the first run in my running clinic and i am worried for a few reasons. one being that i have been off the running scene for over 4 months and the other is that it is colder than a witch's tit outside and i am going to freeze my own off. whose idea was a running clinic in january anyways?!

contributing to the overwhelmption is my rather full social schedule. last night i went to the hockey game and i know that this particular complaint would fall on a lot of deaf ears, but what ever happened to respect? people booing for the american national anthem?? not cool, not cool at all. it was the first time i had seen a shootout live and that was rather exciting, but i was really embarassed that the whole saddledome booed for the other team's players when they were shooting. and the fighting, oh the fighting. i know that the gm of the flames says that it is an integral part of the game and you can't change it (the same line that don cherry throws out there too), but i just don't buy it. it is getting ridiculous and i feel as though i am at a ufc fight when i go to watch the good old hockey game.

and to round off my list of activities this week, i have also had a bridesmaid dress fitting, lunch with my banker/new top chum, coffee with a colleague of a colleague who is heading to kenya to volunteer, friends' birthday party, a jack and jill bridal shower, and a movie date with my sis!

* and before you go freaking out about how that is not a word, which i totally would, i completely and utterly acknowledge that i made it up, remember you are reading the person who cringes when they hear 'impact' used as a verb.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

hopeful dreams

in my dreams last night:
  • i had a visit from an ex boyfriend who was on a roadtrip and it seemed as though we were in kenya. or some other semi-tropical locale. we were bustling around trying to find fresh flowers in an old buick. or what i think was a buick.
  • i went to a private concert to celebrate obama's inauguration and i danced with him. i wonder how many other people in the world dreamed of uncle barry last night?

on the train this morning:

  • a lady fell down the stairs, launching her t ho's in the process, and was more than mortified. i really felt for her, i hope she knows that.
  • there was a big black dude sitting across from me in an obama t shirt and he was just happy. i wonder if he suspected that i am also feeling very hopeful today.

Monday, January 19, 2009

ice cream = stomach ache

one week of no dairy and i am pretty much convinced that it is milk proteins that are responsible for my near constant congestion. i slipped up nearly daily and ate cheese (and that chocolate that gave me a stomach ache and the most delicious smoked salmon pasta in cream sauce...), but i did have two whole soy lattes and well, they were not as bad as i had expected.

i won't make any huge changes to my diet, but i will be more mindful of when i consume dairy and try and make changes like drinking soy lattes instead of cow's milk lattes.

and there, internet, you have the dairy update. don't pretend you weren't anticipating it!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

more trip dub action

if you live in calgary and want to check if your favourite lunch place could have been responsible for that stomach bug you caught, you can check their environmental health inspection reports and see if they had any health violations on recent inspections. i am sure this information is public in most cities, but i had never thought to look it up before.

in my meandering around the www today i also found this recipe for the concoction that supposedly gets any red wine stain out. i haven't tried it on my cream coloured jacket yet, but once i buy some peroxide, i will indeed.

and this website kept me occupied for a few minutes earlier this week when i should have been working. you can make yourself into a picasso and you can see mine here. fun!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

me and my brilliant ideas

  • why doesn't the city of calgary rent out retail space in their train stations? they would gain some revenue and not have to charge their patrons for the use of the parking lots AND there would then be coffee and nibblies available in the stations for people like me who could really use a little caffeine for my morning commute. the european train stations have realised the beauty of this idea and i used to love having a croissant and a coffee for my journeys.
  • i am totally weirded out when people talk to me when i am in the bathroom. picture this - you run into a colleague in the bathroom who is washing their hands and you greet them then slip into the stall to have a pee and then they start a conversation with you. i don't know if i should feel shy and uncomfortable with this, but i do. especially when you have to go back to your desk and sit next to the person!
  • day 3 of no dairy is going pretty well. i am not sure if my cold is finally clearing up or if it is the lack of dairy (apart from that cream cheese and milk in my coffee yesterday) that is responsible, but i hope to have a better picture by the end of the week. too bad soy milk tastes so awful in lattes, because i really do not have that much dairy apart from cheese (mmmmmm..... cheese) and lattes.
  • i thought i would stop by the mall on my way home from work last night. i did not intend to be running around the shops, trying to sneak in their doors before they closed at 9 in my mad quest for a bright coloured skinny belt. but there i was. 3 dresses, 2 sweaters, 1 ring, and 1 brightly coloured skinny belt later, i finally made my way home.

Monday, January 12, 2009

a dairy experiment

anyone who has lived with me knows i am often congested. i remember having 'allergies' since i was a kid but have never been tested for any. i also recall being young and never really enjoying milk unless it was really very cold. and when i was old enough to make decisions for myself, i stopped drinking it all together. since then, i have also noticed that when i drink anything milky or eat something creamy, i tend to become more congested and hack a lot more, which is as lovely as it sounds.

and although i love them, if i eat a dairy queen blizzard, 9 times out of 10, i will have a wicked stomach ache immediately afterwards. i am pretty sure my body has been telling me something to which i should be paying more attention.

i got a cold before christmas and am still fighting the remnants of it. or at least what i think is the last of the bug, but maybe it is just the general congestion that i have become so used to. either way, i am really quite fed up with being all stuffed up with all the snot and mucous that lives in my sinus cavities.

so i am going off dairy for 7 days to see if i feel any different. i did a little research on the www this morning (so you know it is true) and it seems that the doctors are out on whether or not dairy causes congestion, but some believe that the protein casein causes some bodies to produce histimines which then stimulate your body to overproduce mucous. which makes a lot of sense to me.

and these effects can take over 24 hours to present after having consumed dairy, so i could essentially be continually charging up my body to be snotty without even realising it. ew.

i did make an appointment with an allergist to figure this out once and for all (i hope), but that won't be until may so until then i am going to keep relying on the internet and self diagnosing! and in true blogging form, i will keep the trip dub posted on my mucous situation.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

impending doom

a social experiment i would love to run, if it were not impossible, would be to see what two groups do when one is told they are in the middle of an 'economic downturn' and every company targets them with marketing campaigns promoting how they can 'stay afloat' or 'protect their savings' or 'secure their jobs in these uncertain times.' the other group would be kept oblivious to the economic woes of the rest and would be told that the economy is still going strong and they have nothing to worry about. you see where i am going with this here.

i am just getting sick of hearing about how we are in the midst of an ECONOMIC DOWNTURN and how this number is down, that statistic is reaching an all time high, and so-and-so has used the r word. and it really hit me when i saw that chapters has cleverly used this in their in-store marketing with a section set up with books all about how to stave off the effects of the upcoming recession.

i just do not think that these times are any more uncertain than any others. nothing is ever certain and the future is never guaranteed, no matter what statistics or number of analysts or experts say.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


when i said i would pay more attention to my blog, i didn't mean that i would post three times in as many hours, i promise.

but as i was personally reflecting on 2008 and contemplating my thoughts on it, feeling rather confused about the equally amazing and awful parts of it, i found these two posts that i thought were good reflections on the past year. i related to them both and maybe you will too.

tea & cookies


older than i look

i spent parts of the past two days in an orientation session at my new(ish) job. most of the people i had to deal with were co op students from various universities.

the first day i was filled with self righteousness as i thanked the gods that i had never been a business student who revelled in group work and was unable to think for myself. yes, yes, a huge generalisation and i know many business students who do not fit this mould at all (including my little sis), but i was taken aback with the utter lack of critical analysis amongst them and the way they just followed the guys who had the loudest voice. i am sure most of them were just doing all they could to get through their first professional day without an unzippered fly or their skirt tucked into their pantyhose, but even if i give them the benefit of the doubt, they were still irritating as all hell.

but then today, as i contended with questions and comments like 'what was africa like?' and 'sitting in a cubicle is so AWESOME!' i also thought that at least these kidlets have a job to do. i mean, an accountant is an accountant, right? and i am still struggling to figure out what it is i do and how it is i go about doing it.

blah, i hate it when your confidence takes a hit and you have a day filled with your own self righteousness back-to-back. it makes you feel like more of an ass. maybe that is karma?

two thousand and nine

it is already january 6th and this is my first blog post of 2009. my first resolution? to give this blog a little more tlc.

that is less of a new year's resolution and just a resolution because for me, the new year really begins in the autumn. it just seems the appropriate time to celebrate new beginnings and make changes. the beginning of the calendar year falls in the dead of winter and is really not a time that i think anyone is up to making huge changes in their life. but i guess no one said a new year's resolution needs to be a huge change...

i must say that the new year has been good to me thus far. nothing monumental has happened, but 2009 has been kind and i hope it sticks for the rest of the 358 days of the year. i have pretty high hopes and i do not think the year will disappoint.