Friday, December 31, 2004


cutting a rug Posted by Hello

Rick and I will be spending an exciting evening at home tonight - jitterbugging to some of our favorite Benny Goodman records.

I hope everyone has a very fun and safe New Year's Eve! Catch you in 2005.


Thursday, December 30, 2004

Reflection I

You know you've crossed some threshold of sensibility, when you find yourself at a small, dirty strip club in Southern Indiana, being taught the art of spinning on a pole by a pregnant stripper in her 2nd trimester, as your friend patiently drinks his beer at the bar; and two truckers eat their cold egg sandwiches in the background.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Wildlife May Have Sensed Impending Tsunami

Tsunamis Kill People In Sri Lanka, But Not Animals

YALA NATIONAL PARK, Sri Lanka -- Wildlife officials in Sri Lanka expressed surprise Wednesday that they found no evidence of large-scale animal deaths from the weekend's massive tsunami - indicating that animals may have sensed the wave coming and fled to higher ground.

An Associated Press photographer who flew over Sri Lanka's Yala National Park in an air force helicopter saw abundant wildlife, including elephants, buffalo, deer, and not a single animal corpse.

I find it amazing - the sensitivity level to danger - that helped preserve some of the region's wildlife. Observing wildlife, one can see the hyper-awareness that is instinctual to other animals.

I wish we had some way of detecting these cues - it is likely we did in our species' prehistory.

Monday, December 27, 2004

The Monday After

Lounging around

I hope everyone recovered from their holiday weekend.

In my glamorous life, I can be seen lounging around in pink silk, of course. Actually, dye her hair an unearthly red, slap on some flannel pjs and a pair of crooked reading glasses, and you just might have a more accurate image.

Our weekend went well. Uncle Ben, Rick's 80-something Japanese uncle, and his father came over on Xmas day. Uncle Ben, known for his hilarious antics, entertained us with his new keychain digital camera. Did I mention he has glaucoma and cataracts? Yes. He spent nearly thirty minutes trying to discern my head from the tree. That was of course after Rick pointed out that he was taking a photo with the back of the camera.

Great... I thought I would fall off of the couch laughing.

You might feel bad if you didn't know him. He has a great sense of humour. He also likes to point out who among us is fat or has gotten fatter this year. Fortunately we're still in shape, else we'd expect merciless teasing.

Rick's dad got us lots of loot for around the house, which is great - since Rick and I eloped, we didn't get diddley for our wedding, so we've been living with university dinnerware and futons and mismatched towels. Martha would scoff at our abode. (Better than her current abode, though - hah.)

All my family are in the States, so no one from my side was there. We're all fairly antisocial, anyway. Probably for the best.

I spent the rest of the weekend ghost writing. No, not writing about ghosts (although that would be much more fun) - writing a newspaper piece for a company in Alberta. The exciting and rewarding life of a freelance writer...sigh...

Hmm... I ate way too much food over the weekend. I am reminded of our gluttony and extravagance. We are spoiled people. Still, that small guilt couldn't come between me and the Turtles. I can be convinced to do anything for Turtles - anything.

Mmmm...I love Turtles. (A job as a spokesperson is in the works, yes?)

Jon at Biz Evolutionist is attempting to start another cd swap ala Feministe. I hope it works out. People in the business blog arena are more timid about these things. We need more vigilantes.

I'm getting ready to meet my first blog friend, Udge. He'll be in TO in the new year. Should be very cool. Has anyone else hooked up? What was your experience like?

I've been composing a small list of 2005 resolutions. I'm keeping them to a minimum this year. I actually accomplished a lot of my list for 2004 - volunteering, exercising, immigrating...

Rick got me a Calvin and Hobbes book for Xmas. I noticed one of the strips right away - one in which Calvin was pondering the point of celebrating the New Year because every year seems about the same.

I got to thinking about that - how ruts occur that last for years on end. And how we should really endeavor to make the New Year truly new.

I believe 2005 will be better than last year, and 2004 was amazing.

2004 was full of blessings -
* a great relationship with a wonderful man
* a completion of the immigration file
* new friends
* health
* a roof over our head
* food on the table
* births
* creativity
* a wedding

What are your New Year's Resolutions?

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Let it snow...

What I wish for you...
* peace
* love
* harmony
* good food
* warm flannel
* a kitty for your lap
* someone to tuck you in
* all the books you can read
* family
* health
* joy
* contentment
* bear hugs
* creativity
* miracles
* delight
* innocence
* and always, a sense of humor

Happy holidays, my friends, and may all your wishes come true in 2005!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Life Swap Music Exchange

Thanks to Lauren for this incredible idea!

The Challenge: Come up with a musical composition that tells your story and says something about you, burn to cd, send to the person whose name was given to you by Lauren.

I've got to tell you, I have enjoyed this project immensely and had to do a follow up to my previous complaint over at the biz blog.

So here goes nothin' (drum role)...

Aleah's Mix of a Lifetime

• Good About Me - Joseph Arthur
This maudlin songwriter is the beacon of my twenties. I listened to this album almost every Friday night while playing poker with college pals.
"When they ask you what's your church, you say I dance..."

• You Do - Aimee Mann
Twenty-something and off the hook. Last call at the bar. Losers. Life in academia. Self-destructive choices and redemption.

• Blackbird - The Beatles
"You were only waiting for this moment to be free..." This album reminds me of childhood. It's also just a beautiful yet simple song.

• Wildflowers - Tom Petty
This song is the perfect road trip song. It's all about freedom, movement, summer. Tom at his best. "You belong somewhere you feel free." Amen.

• Where Will I Be - Emmylou Harris
This song reminds me of life in Jerome, Arizona and the long drive out there, through the plains and the canyons, through reservations and snow drifts. It's spending Christmas Eve at the Spirit Room... "With your inventions, your intentions, your laughter, your forever yearning..." This song encapsulates the feeling of the Southwest.

• Bellyfish - Veda Hille
Just a very weird little song by a weird and talented girl. I like to think that we need more weird, talented girls.

• No Poetry - Gary Jules
If there was ever a song about writer's block and how good poetry can speak volumes, this is it. It's my inspiration when I need something mellow.

• Cello Song - Nick Drake
Another testament to the power of driving West. Watching the stars fall over the desert while camping.

• Red - Daniel Lanois
This song summarizes my experience in Canada, the changes I've made the past few years. Red is the color of life. Red is visceral.

• Your Beauty Must Be Rubbing Off - Hawksley Workman
This is just a wonderfully happy song. It reminds me of my first summer here, and getting married.

• Wild Horse - Deb Talan
Something about the concept of a wild horse ... I grew up around horses.

• Limp - Fiona Apple
This entire album saved me during a terrible break-up. I listened to this cd on the drive in to work every day...angry, vengeful, depressive, and strangely cathartic. Between my Victorian farmhouse rental and this album, I managed to get through it all emotionally intact. Everyone has a break-up song, this is mine.

• Perfect Day to Chase Tornados - Jim White
I'm reminded of my trips to Charleston and New Orleans when I hear this. There's a 'haunted' feeling there and in this song.

• Meathook - Hannah Fury
"Don't be afraid of the dark..." Being along can make you whole. Healing as an art form.

• Suitcase - Over the Rhine
OtR is a terrific college band from Ohio - I have many of my fondest memories set to their tunes.

• In Spite of Me - Morphine
Incredible album and band. I like this song because it has something to say about mistakes and character. Knowing when to let go.

• All My Tears - Julie Miller
Emmylou did this song, but I like the rootsy feeling of Julie's cover. This song reminds me so much of my youth, growing up in the hills of Southern Indiana and the gospel culture that resides there still.

• Back to the Earth - Rusted Root
My sense of peace comes from being in the woods. I am reminded that we all return to the earth.

• Another Train - The Poozies
"There's another train / There always is / Maybe the next one is yours ..." Words to live by.

- Fin -

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Holidays - On the Rocks

Holidays are a mix of pleasure and pain for this ex-boozer. First off, trying to not fall into a bottle of bourbon (or scotch or whiskey or gin) is tough enough.

My close friends who knew me when I was a bit of a, well, lush, know that I am trying to keep a lid on my urge to drink. Everyone else, welcome to my skeleton closet.

How many parties have I been turning down invites to, you ask? Too many to name... It sucks, really. I hate knowing that I am missing out on the chance to connect with some cool souls, but the temptation to drink is too strong. I steer clear of most after hours festivities.

Moderation is the matra for a lot of us. We live in a society that teaches excess and so, naturally, we are all re-teaching ourselves that the sky is not the limit and tomorrow does, in fact, come.

AA has its hands full right now. Personally, I think AA has too many structural problems to be of much use beyond the 10-20%... I'm glad they help the minority, but I have a problem with an organization that advices you to cut ties with a good majority of the population (drinkers).

I happen to believe that individuals can make positive decisions and amendments to their previous coping mechanisms. Not all, I understand, and perhaps not those who have crossed over into the precarious forest of full blown alcoholism.

But I digress.

I look forward to January, when the urge to be the life of the party becomes easier to manage - And somebody please tell me why some people give away bottles of wine for xmas?! Talk about kicking a girl when she's down! Jeez.

Holidays are hell for a lot of people, for myriad reasons. Staying sober, sane, and thankful can be challenging. Then there's the guilt for feeling like Scrooge. It's a strange and cyclical ride, isn't it?

Anyone else feeling the stress of the season?

Friday, December 17, 2004

Gawd Help Me, but I WANT ONE


link swiped from A Whole Lotta Nothing...

I can see Freckles hating me, not enjoying the pink stoller one bit.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Early Cat Blogging

Adopt Big Mac Posted by Hello

When I saw this adorable face, I couldn't resist. Big Mac is one of the needy cats at Annex Cat Rescue. Anyone in TO looking for a cute guy?

Wild Horses Face Possible Slaughter

THE GATHERING: The Bureau of Land Management on Jan. 30 was at work rounding up 251 wild horses from the Lahontan Herd Management Area. A helicopter and wranglers gathered horses for about a week at several different sites.
Posted by Hello
This image really disturbs me. I am speechless.

For more information on how you can help, visit Wild Horse Spirit...

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Mad Cow Saves the Animals

This is hilarious....

Go angry bovine, go!


Friday, December 10, 2004

On Compassion and Belief

I grew up Baptist. And not the cool, singing and roof raising Baptists of movies about the South. I grew up in an anglo Baptist church with a fat bastard for a preacher. Not only was he a bastard, he also had this nimble mouse of a wife who wasn't allowed to wear slacks. A good 50% of the congregation was labeled "ex-convict" and girls who lost their "purity" were pointed out and given reprisal in the middle of service. THAT kind of Baptist church.

Now, I am all for religious freedom per se. I don't mind those who call themselves a Christian. I try to be tolerant of their belief. However, I don't buy into the notion that religious beliefs should surpass secular laws, and I don't even want to get into an argument about any of the following: sex, sex or sex.

I don't care who you worship, so long as it doesn't spill over into preaching your faith at me or telling other people what they should do within the extent of the law. Other than that, you are free to worship carrots as far as I am concerned.

My grandparents are good hearted folks - some of the few remaining Christians for whom "faith" meant something and is best expressed privately. I respect their faith because it has been used to live compassionately. To me, this is the basis of any religion worth its weight: Love.

The church I grew up in taught lessons rooted in hate and fear and ignorance. I'd venture to say a lot of "lost souls" out there are welcomed into a community only to be fed this type of malignant nonsense.

People forget the deeper connect - our relational basis of survival as a species. Rather we have lost touch with our place in the grand scheme. Individualism is confused with self interest. Altruism with blind allegiance.

When I trace the fabric of my existence, I find animals, plants, forests, water, air, and yes, other humans. When we identify with the afterlife and with a marvelous and punishing creator, we identify with death. Those who identify with death will only find unhappiness, and in turn will try and cause unhappiness for others.

There is loneliness in this, a loss of truth that creates a need in us to fill that void. And boy do we try.

We fill it with lots of stuff, addictions, religious zealotry, sexual partners, children, etc. Still, the loneliness remains... but not connection, which is the very thing we need.

The Damai Lama pointed out the obvious need for connection we have from the very beginning, when we cling desperately to our mother, minutes from the womb. The innate need for nurturing compassion will, when denied, bring death to a newborn. We are hardwired to seek connection and compassion from and with others.

This holiday season I am reminded of the earliest moment of compassion I can recall in my life. This is when I was three and had been seriously scratched and bitten by a feral cat I attempted to befriend in my great grandmother's barn. Although I was hurt and frightened, I remember feeling strangely sorry for the barn cat. After being bandaged, I returned to the barn, this time, respecting the cat's space and range of movement. My kinship with the cat remained, despite the hurt.

Sometimes we try to force our desire in life for happiness, or desire for that which we think will make us happy. We forget to pay attention to the truth of others, ignoring their needs.

Compassion is silent yet enormous. Compassion helps us ultimately find that sense of belonging because it teaches us that everything, from the smallest reptile, to old growth forests, matters and is a part of us. Compassion is the best gift we can give, and costs absolutely nothing.

For more inspiration on meaning during the holidays, read David Suzuki's weekly article...


Thursday, December 09, 2004

Boring Business Blogging

Sigh. I am getting rather tired of the lame business blogging thing going on over at my blog, Incite by Design. Not that there aren't incredibly bright people out there, saying some insightful things. There are many. But there just isn't the sense of camaraderie and exchange that blogging is really supposed to entail. I'm writing like mad, but it feels like I am screaming in an empty room. I'm feeling really pathetic. I don't want a soliloquy - I want a community.

I am ever so grateful for the feedback I get here.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Wicked Writing

The latest issue of Wicked Alice is live, and one of my older poems appears.

Yippee! Feel free to send praise my way (cash is acceptable).

Friday, December 03, 2004

Friday's Funnies

Annoying friend visiting? Mother-in-law stopping by for the weekend? If you need a break with your significant other for a little lovin' and need a "delicate" way of phrasing the obvious - go to the Euphemism Generator. They will take the hint when you drop these randy phrases...

In the meantime, Rick and I will be "freeing the pink trout."

Please Sign and Protect Wild Horses

Cattlemen back measure to sell surplus wild horses

A measure tucked into an appropriations bill Congress passed late last month permits BLM to sell any wild horses that are more than 10 years old or that no one wants to adopt.

“We’re real excited about that,” said Preston Wright of Deeth, president of the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association.

“It’s a major step forward on getting a handle on the horse population. Wild horses have been a problem for some ranchers,” he said.

“This will allow BLM to sell a backlog of older horses, which should allow them to go ahead with gathers,” he said.

Wild horses and cattle compete for forage and for water when the horse herds are too large.

The measure states that an excess animal shall be made available for sale “without limitation, including through auction to the highest bidder, at local sale yards or other convenient livestock selling facilities..."

Once again, business (i.e. cattle ranchers) takes priority over protection, with Nevada's wild horse population under threat. At this point, horses could be sold to rendering factories...

Canada has already lost a significant amount of wild horses in Alberta and BC to trigger happy ranchers and government "intervention"...don't let Nevada repeat the mistake.

Please sign the petition....

Thursday, December 02, 2004

You Just May Be a Terrorist

According to a recent post via Cumulative Impacts, you may well be the subject of an investigation if you are an animal, environmental, or anti-war activist. The pressure is on for you to sit back and do nothing, or else live in fear that your home may be ransacked!

It's not like everyone uses ELF / ALF tactics ... a definite case of gross generalization and government paranoia... I happen to know of one incident which involved a woman who uses strictly peaceful means of protest - her home was taken apart and her name, ruined.