Let's Talk Politics

As many of you know, my main area of interest is US politics and foreign policy, so this post will be a bit of a stretch for me, but I think it's important to post on the upcoming Provincial election and referendum.

Oh yeah.... did you know we have an election fast approaching in Ontario? Do you care? I ask because most people I come into contact with don't give a flying fig about politics, and ignore anything to do with it. All I can say to those people is, PLEASE: vote. It's so important. We as Canadians need to be less complacent and stop letting the politicians make decisions for us. Stand up and let your voice be heard. Voter turn out is astonishingly awful, and I'd like to see that turn around.

This election really has me thinking, and I am torn on who to vote for. Are any of them worthy candidates, and would I really like to see one of the four primary contenders run our province? Honestly, I don't know, because I really don't know much about them or what they stand for, aside from their "traditional" policy ideologies based on their political affiliation. I have received no literature from any candidate - local or provincial - and have only seen half of the televised leader debate.

*snort* If you watched it, you'll know that there wasn't much debating of issues going on, just debate on Dalton McSquinty's track record and lack of progress in the last four years. *yawn* I didn't want to hear what Dalton didn't do rehashed over and over again. I wanted to hear more about the issues, and what each party planned to do about those issues.

Which leads me to a small rant. WHY is the Green Party not included in the debates? Time constraints they say. Then make MORE time. I personally think it's fear. Fear that the Greens will saying something that actually makes sense (rather than the mudslinging attacks the major 3 throw at each other), and people will be swayed to vote for them. Perhaps? Who knows.

I like the Green platform for the most part, and I think my leaning is more in their direction. However, I'm having trouble in this election committing myself to voting for them or any other party. With only 8% "popularity" in the polls (which I don't put too much stock in to begin with), it is pretty certain they will not win. I fear that "throwing" my vote to them just leaves that much more of a window for Dalton McSquinty and the Liberals to retain power, and after the term we've had with him of broken promises, increased taxes and "promises" set for the distant future - no thanks. Let's see if someone else can get the job done. It's doubtful, but why give him a second shot? He blew it the first time.

I've become jaded and cynical towards all Ontario politicians it seems. Since Bob Rae (who I liked as a person, but not his policies), Ontario has seemed to have a dark cloud over her head that no leader can seem to shake. We need action in this province. We need more doctors, less wait times for important medical tests, and more money injected into the education system. And let's not ignore the environment. We need to take action on these issues, NOW. Not in 2011.

So who to vote for? Or maybe you non-voters have it right. Screw it. Whatever I do isn't going to matter one way or another, is it? No party will win the majority of votes in the province, and promises won't be kept because they never are. So why bother?

We have to "bother". Our votes can send a message. Yes, the Green party may only have 8% in the polls, but if your gut says "Go Green", then vote for them! Send a message to the other parties saying that the Greens ARE a viable party, that they DO have a sound platform, and that we - as Ontarians/Canadians - would like to hear more of that platform and ideology at election time.

Do your homework, watch the news, read the papers - educate yourself! The WWW has a plethora of information on the election, with great debates to be found with a quick Google search. Don't be apathetic though, please. We have this right - this duty! - to vote. Take advantage of it. It's one of the only *true* freedoms we really do have in this democracy. Use it.

That's my PSA for the day. Vote! And if you don't plan on voting, please drop me a note and let me know why. I'd love to hear reasons for people not voting. Maybe I can do something to change your mind.... ;o)

Peace (and vote!)


The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel-
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
Burning brush,
New books, erasers,
Chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive,
Well-honeyed hum,
And Mother cuts
Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze.
~ September, John Updike
I have a love/hate relationship with autumn. I love the warm, post summer air that is not too hot and not yet cold. I love the smell of the leaves as they begin to change colour and fall to the ground. I love the smells of fresh baked apple and pumpkin pies, and hot "fall" dinners like roasts, stews and chili. Mmm!
But I hate the mornings that get gradually colder and leave frost on our cars and sidewalks, and the impending threat of - gasp! - snow and winter. *shudder* The fall implores me to stay outside as much as I can before returning once again to hibernation mode. Because I do not "do" winter.
To kick off the first day of fall this year, we had a little "welcome fall" party. We drove out to the apple orchard and picked some yummy Mac's and Empire apples, and sifted through the pumpkin patch for that perfect pie pumpkin (although I think our pumpkin will make about a dozen pies!). We came home and feasted on a yummy roast chicken dinner with stuffing and all the fixings, and my first apple pie of the season.
Alice says I make "the best pies!" and I should sell them in a store. Hmm, she might be on to something. Anyone like to place an order....?
Happy fall!

"Class Reunion", 2007

“Growing up is never easy. You hold on to things that were. You wonder what's to come. But that night, I think we knew it was time to let go of what had been, and look ahead to what would be. Other days. New days. Days to come. The thing is, we didn't have to hate each other for getting older. We just had to forgive ourselves... for growing up.” ~ "The Wonder Years"

"The gang" - Class of 1992

I posted last week how I was feeling a little anxious about attending the "quasi" high school reunion a group of us had put together through Facebook. Umm, I am going to blame that episode on PMS and leave it at that, because sometimes I can be a real dumb ass!

I can't believe I almost didn't go! I had a really good time and it was nice to see so many familiar faces. Faces from what seem like an eternity ago, but at the same time, it felt like no time had passed at all. I hadn't seen many of them since high school, but conversation still came easily. Perhaps even more easily than it did for me before.

I started off the evening with one of my most dear high school friends and his wife. We sat and listened to music, drank (water), and had one of the best laughs I have had in a long time. Our cheeks hurt by the end of it. They were kind enough to act as my chauffeur's for the evening, and most awesome companions. The kid free/not driving thing could have proven to be a wicked combination, but I was good. I learned the lesson of 'consequences' well...

We headed on our way and 'unintentionally' made a detour to a friend's home where it appeared a slew of our former classmates were having a little pre-party. It was a mini reunion in itself, and I suddenly felt like an 18 year old at a house party again. I talked to so many friends that I had wondered about over the years, and we laughed recalling so many great memories.

The bar wasn't too crowded when we arrived from the house party, but quickly filled up a few minutes later. There was a sea of old, familiar faces crowding into one section, so I just kind of sat back and took it all in for a while. I love to people watch, and, well I was hungry.... and nobody else was eating the food! I can't see it go to waste. *wink* It was great to watch others interact and chat with each other though, and be able to chat with friends who came to say hello in a more quiet area where a few of us sat.

A few drinks, munchies, lots of gabs, nice heart to hearts and a whole lotta laughs later, we crawled home. I was relieved to find Jack sound asleep in the play pen (Hallelujah! He's never slept well anywhere but home in his crib), and was even more happy that he let me sleep until 7 am. Thank you, Jack man! I can cope with 6 hours of sleep.... There's a reason I haven't drank in a very long time. I only had 3-4 drinks, but man I was tired this morning.

There's talk of doing it again next year. I'd be game for that. There's a reason that we all agreed to doing this reunion. I think we wanted to see each other again, and really, genuinely like each other as a whole. We were a great bunch of kids in high school - we truly were. I think any of our parents would say it. We had a good time, stayed out of trouble (for the most part!), kept our grades up, went on to college and university for various things and we've all come out successful in our own, unique ways. I didn't feel any judgement in the room. No cattiness, no animosity... It's funny, I think when we left high school, we really did "leave" high school. We really have grown up.

It's amazing what you can learn about yourself and from yourself in just a few days, isn't it?


“There's a big world out there. Bigger than prom, bigger than high school, and it won't matter if you were the prom queen or the quarterback of the football team or the biggest nerd. Find out who you are and try not to be afraid of it.”

A Day at the Fair

The fair is here! The fair is here! It kicked off last Friday and runs until this coming Sunday. We took the kids on Saturday, and a great time was had by all. But I must say - what a cash grab fairs are! We spent $90 on 2 adult entry fees, 40 ride tickets, lunch and special treats (we can't leave the fair without fudge and caramel apples!). Worth it I suppose, because we did enjoy ourselves, but ouch!

Alice enjoyed the rides and animals as always. We took in a "Birds of Prey" show and much to the kids' delight, the red tailed hawk landed right on daddy's head! Of course he had the camera so I couldn't take a picture of it! Jack's eyes were like organ stops though, and Alice was thrilled to be so close to the hawk.

But what she was really taken with was the reticulated python that "Little Ray's Reptile Zoo" was displaying.

She was absolutely fascinated by the 22 foot snake, petting it and checking out every inch of it's scaly skin. At one point she got a little too close to the python's head for our liking (and Ray's!), and we quickly removed her before she became lunch. It is amazing how little fear she has of snakes and creepy crawlies, considering I can't stand the things and let out whoops of displeasure should an earwig cross my path! I'm surprised I haven't scared her off from some of the critters she plays with in the garden.

From the yard we can still hear the sounds of the fair. People screaming and laughing on the rides, buzzers and bells being set off on games, and music from the evening concerts blow our way with the wind. It would be great to go back once more this year, but sadly our schedule (and pocket books!) won't allow it. Oh well. It will be back next year! :o)

Okay, so I'm slightly neurotic!

It's a fact I can't hide. I am slightly neurotic when it comes to social situations. For some reason that surprises people when I tell them. Yes, I'm outgoing and friendly. I meet people easily and make friends quickly. However, I always have this underlying fear or dread of being judged.

"What are they thinking about me?"

"Why did she just look at my shoes?"

Often, none of my fears are valid. I over analyze the situations I am in and become slightly paranoid. Combine this with PMS, which is what has happened this week, and you get what you see below - an insecure mess! lol

But it's all good. After pep talks from the two Lisa's in my life I'm feeling better and will be attending the gathering on Saturday with confidence and a smile on my face. This is going to be fun because I am going to make it fun!

I'm good enough,
I'm smart enough,
and, doggonit,
people like me!
~Stuart Smalley


Speaking of school....

This weekend my graduating class from high school is holding a small, informal get together. Reunion-ish I guess. It's starting with a gathering in the park with our kidlets in the afternoon, and followed by a night of drinking and dancing at a local watering hole.

I was all gung ho for it at first, and even had a hand in getting it started. But as the day gets closer.... I dunno. I'm starting to think I don't want to go. I know a few of my old high school friends read this blog, so please don't be offended by this post.

High school wasn't the most pleasant experience for me. In grade 9 I was accused of being a devil worshipper - I was the early "goth" - so in grade 10 I tried to reinvent myself. My attire went from kind of black and gloomy to mainly Polo and Lacost. Such a follower I became. Bahhhhh!

But I felt like it still didn't work. I wasn't unpopular, but I never felt really well liked either. Just kind of "there". The person people hung out with when there was nobody else around to hang out with, know what I mean? If your friends ditched you, go find Jo. She would entertain you. I wasn't invited to do fun things like weekend camping trips, I didn't go to a lot of house parties, and I didn't have a best friend forever who I walked through the halls with arm in arm or passed notes to in class. I was the unmemorable one I guess. Another cog in the wheel.

I have visions of attending this gathering this weekend and having the same feelings of loneliness I had in high school flood back over me. I don't want to stand off to the side like a wallflower while everyone shares their stories of good times that I wasn't involved in. I don't want to have to grin and feel false, because at least feeling false I would feel something. There are only a handful of people outside of the ones I keep regular contact with that I would really like to see, and of course my insecurity makes me ask, "But do they want to see me?"

I'm torn. I've bounced it back and forth in my head for the last 2 days. I'm told it will be "fun", and I'm sure it will be for most. But it's not when you are the insignificant one. When you are the one feeling left out and lonely. Do I want to put myself through that torture....again? I'm thinking not.


Decisions, decisions. I think I am making this a lot harder than it is, as I am apt to do...

Back to school....

Back To School
Back To School
To Prove To Dad That I'm Not A Fool
I've Got My Luch Packed Up
My Boots Tied Tight
I Hope I Don't Get In A Fight
Back To School
Back To School
Back To School"
~Adam Sandler, "Back to School", Billy Madison

Well, my wee girl, not even 5, returned to the land of learning this week. What a big leap this is for her, and I'm very proud that she's handling it so well.

Alice has moved on to senior kindergarten at a french immersion school, leaving the friends she made in junior kindergarten and the old school behind. She rode the bus for the first time on Monday and was thrilled about it. She leapt onto the bus without so much as a kiss goodbye, excited to find her seat. I, of course, followed behind in the car and got a little choked when the radio station played Fergie's, "Big Girls Don't Cry". (lol!)
Yeah, well mommies do!

I watched her semi-nervously get off the bus and follow the bigger kids to the yard. She walked up the side gates and was starting to follow the young girl who was leading her, but was quickly guided back to the wall where she was to line up. I stood by the tree and watched as she looked around at the other kids and smiled. I had pangs of guilt for not standing there with her, as I saw 5 or 6 other moms doing, but I knew I needed to let Alice do this herself. I had to let "The Bee" fly by herself finally. And it was hard, but we both did it.

She came home from school the first day with a big smile on her face and was eager to tell me the things they did in the day. A big difference from her first (and every day!) of junior kindergarten. I was slightly worried that her JK experience was going to hinder her going in to the french immersion program, but after her first day, I think I was very wrong. She is going to learn and grow so much more than she did last year, and I can't wait to watch it. And that's not to say that her experience at the old school was entirely a bad one, I just think it could (or should) have been much better.

To celebrate her first day and make it that much more exciting for her, I baked a cake while she was at school. Now, it was more glorious and well put together in my imagination, but heck - it didn't turn out too badly if I do say so myself! She was thrilled with it and said, "Aww, mommy... that was so nice of you to bake me a cake! Thank you! You're a good mommy." My heart melted. I'm no Martha, but I am a "... good mommy." Yay!

She is there for day 2 today, and while I miss her, I'm incredibly excited for her. The teacher sent home a list of the vocabulary they will be learning this month, and I don't think it will be hard for her at all. I have already taught her things like, "Bonjour", "je m'appelle", "mes amis", so this will be a walk in the park!

And she is showing she is eager to learn the language already. While cooking dinner Monday night, Alice said "What are we having, mommy?"
I said, "Your favourite... spagetti!"
"Yay!" she said. "Hey mom, do you know how they say spagetti in french? Spagetto!"

À bientôt!