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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas my friends

For the first time since 1971 (according to CBC Radio) Canada is having a white Christmas from coast to coast to coast (some of us like to mention the Arctic coast too). While that means it's cold and the poor Vancouverites are learning how to crash their cars in three inches of snow - it's rather lovely.

The other night we soaked in Ainsworth hot springs in the dark. It's a natural spring, with the water flowing out of a cave into pools - nice anytime of year, but especially lovely in winter. It was about minus 10 Celsius and snowflakes were drifting lazily down. There was a blanket of winter stillness covering all, and the 20 or so people soaking in the pools seemed to be whispering to honour that. It seemed so far away from the bustle of Christmas and the worries that are so dominent for so many just now.

If Christmas symbolizes the arrival of light into darkness, the hope for innocence and goodness to prevail... the whispering of humans as they gather to honour what's sacred - then may this Christmas please bring us a little closer to respecting all life and pulling together on our fragile planet.

Best wishes to each of you - whatever Christmas means (or doesn't mean) to you.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A winter haiku contest

I haven't offered a haiku contest for a while. Those of you who have won before know of the fabulous prizes and fame that await the winner. (Okay, you'd be better off visiting Susan when she has a contest, and finding a way to win one of her beautiful hand painted silk scarves, but I digress...)

I attended a haiku workshop this summer, with terrific poets, academics and lovers of haiku. In fact, we were the novices in the group. I was surprised to learn (although one of you told me before) that the 5, 7, 5 syllable form is not required or a rule.

So here's my rules:

- refer directly or indirectly to the winter season somehow

- 3 lines (5,7,5 if you wish, but not required)

I'll pull a name at random and award a prize. To get things going:

cold bright morning -

a fresh breeze

spanks my cheeks

If you're too busy with Christmas things to think about poetry - don't feel pressured (hmmm, but there is the prize...)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Welcome back Gary! (I imagine someone saying...)

It's been a while since I posted something. It's not for a lack of interesting world events or a lack of inspiration or a lack of annoyances to examine... I have been traveling a lot for weeks and weeks and have been putting energy into new work, a new relationship (well, 6 months now), my kids as they fly in an out of the nest... etc.

So this might be eclectic - is that alright? Perhaps something serious, something light, something annoying, something silly and something lovely - how's that?

Something Serious
President Elect Obama is setting the tone - and I like it. One thing he has committed to is to close the illegal detention centre at Guantanamo Bay and he has also committed the nation to ensure the end of torture by the U.S.

Amnesty International is also calling on the President-elect to support an independent commission of inquiry into all aspects of the USA's detention and interrogation practices in the "war on terror", and to ensure full accountability for human rights violations committed in that context.

The organization has written to President-elect Obama to urge him to ensure that closing Guantánamo, ending torture and other ill-treatment, and supporting a commission of inquiry, are among his priorities for his first 100 days in office.

A copy of Amnesty International’s checklist for President-elect Obama is available at: http://www.amnesty.ca/amnestynews/upload/AMR511172008.pdf.

Something Light (sort of)
I'm involved with War Child Canada, a terrific organization working to change conditions for children affected by war - on the ground and in the public opinion arena. Check this interesting promotional 'commercial' out.

Something Annoying
Help me - what is one thing that annoys you about Christmas? (Okay, I'll ask for nice things next week - for this one, let's go with annoying.) I'll get you started: something that annoys me is piped Christmas music starting in department stores sometime in say... early November. Usually crappy recordings and generally they get stuck in my head for days, or until the next time I'm in the store to get re-programmed. "Oh the weather outside is frightful... etc" You?

Something Silly
Any Pee Wee Herman fans out there? If so, just a little Christmas tidbit - with Charo and Chairo! Secret word: YEAR. Here you go.

Something Lovely
The main shopping street in Nelson BC (see, I'm not a Grinch).

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