She is kidding – right?

I read this today and it baffled me… He was warmly received by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who called him “a leader that God has blessed us with at this time.” (See the full story here – Pelosi story) We are constantly reminded of Pelosi’s ‘selective’ Catholicism in that she likes to remind us that she is Catholic, but then also likes to cherry pick which parts of the faith she practices and disregard others. If she decided that she wanted to not abstain from meat on Fridays as her cherry picking – that would be one thing, but she knows what Barack stands for and its pretty blatantly against the Catholic faith. So to suggest that God sent him as a blessing to us is a little bit of a stretch to put it very mildly. Mother Theresa – now there is a woman who is a blessing from God. Alan Graham of Mobile Loaves and Fishes is another blessing. I can think of countless individuals who selflessly give of themselves and devote their lives to helping others who are clearly blessings to the world. Obama – not really. I’m willing to be that there were many during Biblical times who felt that Herod the Great was a blessing from God. He may have done a lot of things to build and bolster growth in Jerusalem at his time, but I’m not so sure God was looking down at the world and saying ‘Yep, I’m going to send this blessing to the earth so he can try and seek out my Son to kill him and wipe out a huge number of young boys in the process.’ In the sense that every living being is a blessing from God, Pelosi is right. But what we chose to do and how we chose to live our lives are because of free will. God brought Obama to earth, but I’m not convinced that He’s looking down and thinking ‘Yep, Obama, you are doing exactly what I would like you to do – keep on the straight and narrow!’.

They all look so happy!

Note how happy everyone looks. The children love living like refugees and seeing their family for a few days a year. I bet those people who work in terrible conditions in the factories that produce cheap plastic trinkets look just as happy! The whole age of the gymnasts thing just leaves you wondering in how many other places the Chinese are cheating.

But its free…

Tonight at dinner we had a discussion that began with my 12 year old niece and 10 year old nephew trying to explain to me why G should become a Canadian. They started out with health care systems – bad choice. My nephew began to explain to me that Canada had a far better health care system than the US because ‘its free’. He also went on to suggest that he got this information from Michael Moore’s ‘Sicko’ which led me to a great deal of frustration. A little background – my nephew does not have access to any news, nor do his parents read or follow the news and they live in a very small town in the mountains of British Columbia which is fairly sheltered. However, it was the ‘but its free’ comment that got to me. I had an epiphany when I realized that people who often pay nothing or next to nothing into the tax coffers of the government who have this opinion. You know – 10 and 12 year olds, survivors of Hurricane Katrina who felt that the FEMA support was ‘free money’ and that they ‘deserved’ it. G and I felt terrible even spending the first small cheque we received after Katrina from FEMA and we had paid FAR more into the tax system than we were receiving. Perhaps people think that the Canadian Health Care system is staffed by doctors who donate their time, companies who donate equipment, contractors who donate the building of hospitals, people who just like to drive around at all hours with sirens running and have chosen to be EMS technicians. Or perhaps that the government just prints more money to give to people in times of crisis. We are sadly lacking in our educational front if this is what people believe.

Sports weekend at TIL

This weekend was our lake’s annual ‘Sports Weekend’ where everyone on the lake gets together and competes in swimming, running and various other competitions. They’ve been doing this since my Dad has been coming to the cottage so we’re well into 50 years of this. As usual, its a beautiful long Civic Holiday weekend in early August. The weather can be crappy all around, but somehow it manages to clear up for Sports Weekend. We don’t do a lot of socializing at our lake outside of those in our little bay, so its always surprising to see how many people are actually here on the lake! The kids really enjoyed themselves today. Both E and ‘I’ went in a number of races. ‘I’ did a few swimming races and enjoyed herself. E opted for the ‘dry’ races on land. He came second in his running race and placed in number of other races. Frankly, it really makes absolutely no difference to us as long as they participate. I really would rather they just get out there and have fun. It was quite an experience for him to come second in his first race and it was clear by the smile on his face that went from ear to ear that it meant a lot to him. It was a great way to start the day as he was very keen and eager to participate in the other races throughout the day. ‘I’ did well too and really put her heart into participating in her races. I was very happy to see them get out there and participate and have fun while doing it. It was a lot of fun for all of us! I even got in on the action by running the ‘Long Distance Run’ which is actually less than a mile. Its totally back woods as they drive you out in a pick up truck down a dirt road and drop you off so you can run back. They have three categories – 11 and under (the 11 and under crew run about 1/2 the distance), 12-19 and 20 and over. I have run this race in the past and am usually smoked by some young guy. Not this year though. I ran and was first overall. ‘I’ and G encouraged me to run it and it was a good experience. It was a fun race and, I have to admit, it felt good to place ahead of some of the younger kids (I mean the teenagers and young adults – not the 11 and under!). G and I went in the ‘egg toss’ competition and did pretty well until I threw a bad throw and the egg landed on the ground and cracked somewhat. It still had enough for another throw, but when G threw it to me, that crack became the achilles heel for the egg and it splattered all over my hands and legs. We had a fun time though, and ‘I’ took some great photos. A great day overall – now its time for bed as I’m absolutely pooped after all of that!

Swimming with Loons

This morning we woke up early to go to Mass in town. Its about a 1/2 hour drive to Thunder Bay, so we needed to be out of here by 8:00 to get to mass at 8:30. I woke up first – at about 7:00 am – and went down to the lake for a quick dip as I hadn’t had a chance to shower or swim the day before and I’d been on a run (kinda gross really). It was really spectacular. The water was completely calm and smooth and the air cool (in the low 50s). There was a slight mist on the water and the sky was clear. As I walked toward the end of the dock, I noticed two loons on the lake. One was about 20 yards off the end of the dock and the other was over by the shore on the other side of the bay. I thought to myself, ‘Today I get to swim with the loons.’. The one off the end of the dock didn’t go very far when I hopped in and the other on the edge of the bay could have cared less. It was just a very beautiful experience. Equally beautiful, though somewhat different, was an experience I had later in the day when I got to swim with another loon while enjoying a sauna before dinner. E, G and I decided to have a sauna before dinner (‘I’ didn’t want to go and hung on the dock with the others). G had turned on the sauna as he was appalled by my calling my daily ‘dips’ in the lake ‘bathing’ and told me I needed a proper bath. E and I went in the lake together to swim after heating up in the sauna. He really loves to hang in the sauna and loves the dips in the lake even more. The two of us waded out into the water far off the shore as its very shallow water near the sauna. It was very enjoyable to spend that time with him knowing how much he loves it. As I watched him dive under water and then come back up again with a big goofy grin on his face, I thought to myself, ‘Yes, today I swim with loons.’