Maybe all we need to know we really do learn in Kindergarten.

I’d been meaning to post this for some time, but last week ‘E’ gave me a little insight into his day in Kindergarten. He told me that they learned about tolerance. I asked him what it meant and he gave a beautiful description of accepting all for who they are or something along those lines. I’m so glad to know that he is learning these fundamental basics in his class. Now… if we could just remember those things as we grow up.

'conservative' or 'liberal'

I’m not sure whether I fall into the ‘conservative’ or ‘liberal’ camp when I really think about where I stand on a bunch of issues. What’s clear to me as that election has been extremely divisive on so many levels. Its tough slugging on both sides. It made me step back and evaluate what was really important to me and then I realized that I wasn’t quite sure where I fit in. Economic Policy – I am not an economist nor am I a finance expert. I have to believe or hope that whatever choices are made are made by those far more intelligent than I am on the subject (which isn’t really that hard – a monkey could probably handle it better than I). Heck, those with PhDs in economics can’t even agree on the best approach. Foreign Policy – I suppose, again, that I like to believe that whoever is in charge is someone who will work well with others on an international basis. In other words, I hope that they play nicely in the sandbox. I hope that they will surround themselves with those who can advise them well on the issues at hand and that they can take and carry those issues forward and deal with others on an international basis with the utmost in diplomatic tact. I don’t necessarily like war or welcome it and I’m not sure whether or not the war in Iraq was a good thing or not. On the one hand, having Saddam Hussein gone isn’t such a bad thing, but the struggles to rebuild a country based on a completely new approach of democracy is proving to be pretty tough and I don’t think anyone expected it would be this difficult. Health Care – This is a touchy area for me. I am a firm believer in universal access to health care, but I also see – from growing up in Canada – where this is an extremely difficult concept to achieve while maintaining a quality health care system. I have read both health care plans and read summaries and comparisons of both. Both seem very similar except that the McCain plan seems to not mess too much with the private industry whereas the Obama plan appears to want to force private companies to insure more risky patients. I’m not sure I fully understand the rationale behind enforcing such an idea if there is to be an expansion of Medicare under his plan. I also am concerned about both plans on two other levels – the first is personal responsibility. We are a nation of extremely unhealthy people with the obesity rate on the rise. As of 2007, every state in the nation – with the exception of Colorado, had at least 20 – 24% of its population with a BMI of 30 or greater. Almost half of the states had 25-29% of their population with a BMI of 30 or greater and a few even had 30% with a BMI of 30 or greater. This is pretty critical and a great number of preventable diseases have been on the rise as a result of the increase in the obesity rate. Those in the health care industry have been raising the alarm bells about the obesity rate and with a great number of those who fall into the obese category falling into the category who will rely upon public health care, its going to be an expensive prescription to write. McCain’s plan pointed to significant funding for preventative health care including education regarding basic health. I didn’t see that in Obama’s, but perhaps I overlooked it. The second thing that worries me is that studies have shown that Medicare and similar programs (i.e. not private insurance) run more unnecessary tests than those in the private insurance industry. The concern is on the ability of a public system to monitor itself and ensure that its not taken advantage of by the health care system. Guns – don’t like ‘em. Having said that, see no issue for hunters not to have guns. But I don’t think that semi-automatics or pistols are necessary. That’s just me. Abortion – pro-life. Religion – want to ensure the preservation of my right to practice my religion as well as those of other religions to practice theirs. Social Programs – I really believe that there are those who need assistance and benefit from it. What concerns me is that government programs can often create a dependence and reliance on those programs rather than the idea that the program is a short term solution and work is done to ensure that the recipient can get find their way at some point. I’ve seen and heard inspiring stories about those who were able to be lifted out a difficult position and have their lives greatly improved by becoming independent. I do believe that the private sector has a more successful track record in helping this way than the public sector. Anyway, that’s just me thinking out loud. The wheels are turning and the sound of the gears is whirring away.

Thank you Julie and CRHP 30.

Today I had coffee with one of the women from my women’s group from last year. It was so nice to spend time with her. She’s an amazing woman with an incredible story. She’s one of those women that women love to hate. She’s tall and beautiful with a vivacious personality that overflows when you meet her. She used to have her own syndicated talk show on CBS radio. We had a nice time today as she very graciously and generously agreed to help out another woman I know who is going through a difficult time right now. This other woman is currently going through a divorce. She has two children – one in elementary school and one in middle school. She didn’t want the divorce and I believe it caught her by surprise when her husband suggested it. In any event, she’s a really great woman and she’s now – in her mid 40s – looking at starting her life over again including going back to work full time. Julie has a great eye for style and has recently started a business doing home decor, wardrobe consulting – general ‘overhaulin’ for various aspects of lifestyle. She had passed around gift certs to a number of women she knows to do some pro bono work to build up her clientele and get some PR. I received her gift cert on the same day I ran into this friend who is going through a divorce. I put two and two together and sweet Julie will be helping out my other friend to give her a little bit of a boost to her self-esteem as she gets ready to face her new life. I wasn’t sure how it was going to pan out and how my friend would feel. My biggest concern was that she would misunderstand the intention – but, fortunately, she didn’t and I was so happy to be able to make the connection for her. Our whole team has proven time and time again to be a selfless, giving and generous group of women. Anytime one of us has needed some assistance in some way or another – these beautiful women have been there. Usually the assistance we ask for is for someone other than ourselves. It was really, really nice to be able to spend some time with Julie today and be reminded of that generosity since we don’t get to meet on a weekly basis anymore. Thanks Julie and CRHP 30!

'The Great Adventure' – Intro

I’ve always wanted to read the Bible and understand it better. Its a pretty daunting task to undertake. 77 books and many of them very difficult to follow! Last year G went through a program at our Parish called ‘The Great Adventure Bible Timeline – The Story of Salvation’ and loved it. It was offered to the men of our Parish by the Knights of Columbus. He learned a lot and the program seemed extremely well thought out, organized and easy to follow. I thought it would be wonderful to study and have facilitated the same program at our Parish this year – for women. We have about a dozen women and I think its going to be a wonderful experience. The authors of the study have picked out the key and ‘relevant’ portions of the Bible and put them into an order to read that follows an easy to understand narrative. By the time we finish the study, we will have read 24 of the 77 books and understand how they fit into context historically and chronologically. We had our first meeting this past week and our reading assignment for the first week is Genesis 1-3. This has always prompted a lot of questions for me. Like, how does Genesis fit in with Dinosaurs? How long ago was the creation of the earth? Were Adam and Eve real? Each week you complete a reading assignment and then answer questions. At the next meeting you spend the first 30 mins discussing the answers to your questions and then watch an hour long DVD presentation on what you read. I’m looking forward to it and hoping to better understand!

MLF off to Galveston tomorrow…

Alan Graham and the MLF crew are off to Galveston again tomorrow. We went to the MLF kitchen last night to lend a hand. Alan sent out an email to call for 25 volunteers to come and help load the trucks last night. Clearly, when Alan talks people listen because there were at least double and then some more than that. We stayed and helped out for a bit. It was fun – we did whatever was needed to be done. We bagged up day old goodies from Starbucks for distribution and washed tomatoes as they are taking the food truck loaded with 900 hamburger patties and a grill to cook up burgers. We filled up flavouring bottles with syrup for the snow cone machine that will be going along for the ride. They have a ton of water, ice and all sorts of other items like wipes and things that those without water or decent access to food will need – but I think that many will think that – quite literally – they have died and gone to heaven when they see the snow cone machine! The kids played with other kids outside while the grown ups worked. It was a wonderful opportunity to come together as a community and help those in need who were affected by Hurricane Ike. Go MLF!

Musings.

I realized a few times over this past week that I’ve been carrying around this lump of anger, frustration and hurt because of this whole ridiculous expulsion thing. It was resulted in me posting things in a more angry tone than I usually would. I usually just try and stick to being cheeky, but I’ve felt really frustrated about this thing on a number of levels but it comes back to one significant one: Why can’t I let it go? I suppose I can’t let it go because of a few things. One is that I’m reminded of it when I wake up at 5 in the morning. Do I get up and go run by myself? If so, where do I run? Should I run from BS/OGS or should I run around my neighbourhood? How shall I structure my day so I can get out and run, enjoy it and feel safe? Its required some shifting around that is annoying in a practical way. Then there is the why did it happen thing? While I don’t question my beliefs and know for a fact that I am far from one who avoids or shuns a good discussion or debate – I’ve been known to dig my heels in pretty deeply and keep going for a long time. This doesn’t necessarily mean that I don’t hear and listen and welcome opposing ideas. I learn a lot that way. But what I do ask myself is ‘why’? So when I ask ‘why’ I think about the email. I think about what it says and what it really means. What I see is an utter disrespect for the concept of tolerance – which is the foundation upon which liberalism was built. What its made me realize is that not all Democrats are liberal and not all Republicans or Libertarians are conservative in the true ideological concepts. Aside from that, I see hypocrisy – and anyone who has read anything I have written will know how much hypocrisy gets under my skin. Its not to say that I’m not guilty of it now and then too. We all are. But I really hate when it comes into play into significant decisions that people make. The idea that I don’t like people questioning my views is absurd – I’m not the one who, literally, ran away in the middle of the conversation or told me that I wasn’t welcome to return. ‘Stay and fight like a man’. I also think about those who sent me emails of support – which I appreciated tremendously – yet no one is willing to raise the question regarding whether or not what was done was fair. I suppose, to me, its suggested that I was ‘expendable’ and when I think about that, I feel hurt. Aside from those things, I think – most importantly – about my faith and about forgiveness. I think about only being able to love God as much as I love those I like the least. I’d have to say that banishing someone for their beliefs is something that results in my not liking or respecting that person very much at all. Yet, I am reminded continuously to see Christ in everyone and be forgiving and be charitable. Clearly, something in what I said struck a nerve. But often times the things that strike us the most have nothing to do with the person who said it but are a trigger of something deep rooted within ourselves. Yes – sometimes a cigar is just a cigar – but often times its not. I think back to the things that make me angry or the times when I have been upset – like this week when I have been frustrated with G or the kids and know that its not about what the kids did at all – its about this whole mess. So… where does that leave me? Well, it leaves me a woman who will run alone a fair bit – which is fine, who has been praying for peace and forgiveness and praying for a softening of the heart for those involved – including my own. I know, from past experience, that prayers are answered – not always in the way WE want them to be – but they are answered and that my prayers to be able to forgive will be answered in due time. For now, I pray for peace so that I can move about my daily life and move past the place of hurt where I seem to be stuck at the moment.

Math, oreos and blood.

This morning I went to ‘I’s math class to do a project with Oreo cookies. It was A LOT of fun. The kids were working on a task where they were stacking oreo cookies to see how high they could stack them. The data collected was then going to be input into a national website and results compared from around the country. I worked at a table where they took everyday objects and balanced them against the weight of a certain number of Oreo cookies. It was a lot of fun. The kids really enjoyed the idea of estimating and then finding their results. We also got to watch them do their timed ‘fast facts’ test where they run through a level of addition and subtraction questions in three minutes. They also did a weekly quiz. I suspect the results will be slightly different from the norm since they had about a half dozen parents in their watching and distracting them. On another note about Oreo cookies, I went and gave blood yesterday afternoon. ‘E’ went with me and enjoyed watching as the bag filled with my blood. He was very good about keeping me updated as to how close I was to being finished. Both of us had a treat of oreo cookies after I finished the donation. I got mine for being brave and not passing out because of the needle and he got his for being so cooperative and well behaved while he was waiting. I haven’t eaten an Oreo cookie in a LONG time. It tasted pretty good after giving a pint of blood. Incidentally, the woman who took my blood had a great shirt on – it said: “I’m full of it. – I donate blood.”

Walk On and Grace

I had my iTunes on shuffle yesterday and it played a U2 song. I pulled up my U2 playlist and decided to just shuffle through U2 music for awhile. I love their music so much. Great music and great lyrics: Walk On And love is not the easy thing The only baggage you can bring… And love is not the easy thing… The only baggage you can bring Is all that you can’t leave behind And if the darkness is to keep us apart And if the daylight feels like it’s a long way off And if your glass heart should crack And for a second you turn back Oh no, be strong Walk on, walk on What you got, they can’t steal it No they can’t even feel it Walk on, walk on Stay safe tonight… You’re packing a suitcase for a place none of us has been A place that has to be believed to be seen You could have flown away A singing bird in an open cage Who will only fly, only fly for freedom Walk on, walk on What you got they can’t deny it Can’t sell it or buy it Walk on, walk on Stay safe tonight And I know it aches And your heart it breaks And you can only take so much Walk on, walk on Home…hard to know what it is if you never had one Home…I can’t say where it is but I know I’m going home That’s where the heart is I know it aches How your heart it breaks And you can only take so much Walk on, walk on Leave it behind You’ve got to leave it behind All that you fashion All that you make All that you build All that you break All that you measure All that you steal All this you can leave behind All that you reason All that you sense All that you speak All you dress up All that you scheme… ***************** Grace Grace She takes the blame She covers the shame Removes the stain It could be her name Grace It’s a name for a girl It’s also a thought that changed the world And when she walks on the street You can hear the strings Grace finds goodness in everything Grace, she’s got the walk Not on a ramp or on chalk She’s got the time to talk She travels outside of karma She travels outside of karma When she goes to work You can hear her strings Grace finds beauty in everything Grace, she carries a world on her hips No champagne flute for her lips No twirls or skips between her fingertips She carries a pearl in perfect condition What once was hurt What once was friction What left a mark No longer stings Because grace makes beauty Out of ugly things Grace makes beauty out of ugly things