Wednesday, June 25, 2008

So long, fair well, auf wiedersehen ... (to our apartment)

Tonight is our last sleep in this apartment which has been our home for almost two years. Bittersweet for sure - sad to leave, but excited about owning our first house, and moving into our new home tomorrow, the last day of school.

Just wanted to make mention of that, as I really don't have time to be doing even this little post tonight - and won't have internet access tomorrow in the midst of moving. So ... talk to you on Friday, tell ye who might be interested how the move went, and hope everyone is enjoying the start of the summer. See you before the weekend.

XO - Sarah

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe

“We fought for this country, and a lot of blood was shed. We are not going to give up our country because of a mere X. How can a ballpoint fight with a gun?”
-Robert Mugabe, President - Zimbabwe

How can the world let a man who blatantly says this - whose military has killed 6 opposition supporters, injured thousands more and run off his main presidential rival by contesting an unnecessary runoff election essentially at the point of a gun - remain in power? How can we declare Saddam Hussein the second coming of Hitler while this man runs roughshod over his people? Please - Morgan Tzvangirai is imploring armed international peacekeepers to come to Zimbabwe to restore order and oversee a legitimate, peaceful election - the man is not asking for anything at all unreasonable. I hope the international community does not make the same mistakes it did with Rwanda, Darfur, etc. Let's fix this, and fix it now.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Personal Note

Dear Alex and cher,

I've had a very blue day, dwelling on some things (more, people) lost, and the fact these last few weeks have been too busy to mean much socially. I have felt like a hermit, and not particularly likeable, given the history you both know of about 10 months ago. I was wallowing, at what is an otherwise very happy time in my life (yay move! yay birthday and anniversary! yay end of school! yay Canada Day party! yay cher coming home later this summer!), in a very miserable and unflattering bout of self-pity, and your messages on my Wall on Facebook, and comments on my blog, came at just the right time to cheer me up. They were small, but they were friendly, spontaneous, and heartfelt. It IS the little things that count - thanks for reminding me of that.

Your grateful, pouty wallower (I'm worse than the kids I teach! lol) --

And friend forever,
Sarah

Saturday, June 21, 2008

End of School ... Moving ... Transitions ... Oh My!

What a week next week is going to be! We got our house painted this weekend - thanks Mr. Muller! - it looks lovely. We're set for Tuesday then to have carpet cleaners come in, and Thursday is 'move in' day. GOOD stuff! :D And school ends this week ... thank God.

Not to sound ungrateful, or like I don't like my job - I do. But this is one of the hardest times in the world to teach. There's no routine, the kids are going stir-crazy, and (unbeknownst to them) so are the teachers. It's been 9 months, and it's time for a break (or at least a different job for the summer lol). Hopefully September will bring a contract - I applied for like 20 permanent positions this week, wish me luck.

Also looking forward to entertaining on Canada Day. Some good friends coming over - though there will as always be some faces I'll miss - and it will be nice to catch up, as with report cards and moving and busy-ness all around I feel like quite the hermit these days.

Anyone want to meet up for some coffee sometime? lol

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Happy Anniversary - and a new home

First I want to wish my husband a happy anniversary - we were married for three years yesterday, but it was such a busy day I was barely online checking my work email much less blogging. That's because ... WE CLOSED ON OUR NEW HOUSE!!! We had our painter in to take a look around the place and get a sense of it, and then got to toast a happy anniversary and housewarming with my parents - all 4 of 'em - and Ari's mom (his dad's out of town). Such a nice evening, and so happy with the house.

Painters start tomorrow, should be done Saturday, carpets cleaned early next week, and we move in next Thursday - a week from today. What an exciting time ... and thanks to everyone who's support got us here! :) We have such awesome friends and family, and while it IS our accomplishment (modest ain't we?) there are LOTS of people we'd have never gotten here without - they know who we are, and we love them muchly. :D XOXO

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Some wishes

First and most importantly, for Father's Day:

To my dad -
A strong, standup guy.
We disagree on politics,
And he's busier
Than we both would like
From time to time,
But he's my daddy,
And always will be.
Thank you for always loving me:
THAT I've always been sure of.

To my step-dad -
Who makes my mom so happy,
Who has gone above and beyond
With his step-children
As long as I've known him,
And who may act like a big bear,
But is a softy at heart
(We all know it).

And to my grampa -
Who may be getting older,
Who may be a step slower,
But who is still one of the people
I admire most in this world.
I salute you, Grampa,
And love you so much.

I would also like to wish happy birthday to a friend -
OK, a former friend.
I don't know if he even reads this - probably not -
But if he does - if you do:
I don't quite know why; I don't know why
We saw each other today
And didn't say hello;
I don't know why it has to be like that.
But I want you to know I'm thinking of you,
Have been thinking of you,
Am sad to be going through
One of the most exciting times of my life
Without someone I consider family.
But I hope you've found whatever peace
You needed to leave me behind to find.
Happy Birthday - and remember
My phone is always open to you.

Enjoy the last few hours of your weekend, all. Hug and hold close the people who matter most. XO

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Weekend!

Oh thank Christ it's the weekend y'all ...

So tired. The week hasn't been bad but it's been busy and I've been TIRED. Doesn't get any easier from here - moving in less than two weeks! Closing day is Wednesday, and we move out of the apartment the following Thursday. Exciting times though ... just ...

Busy.

Ari and I are cat-sitting for his parents. We got to their house around 9pm last night to take care of Gabe the kitty; we fell asleep on the floor at around 10pm, and woke up at 4am. Couldn't understand how we weren't tired enough to go right back to sleep ... but somehow did. Obviously needed it.

Today's been full of cats; took our little girl-kitty Lita to get microchipped. Upsetting experience, but she's relaxing comfortably at home now.

I need to learn to bowl. A friend needs to stop drinking. That's about it for the weekend.

Enjoy yours.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

"Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?"

Directed by Robert Aldrich, starring Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.

See it.

That is all.

And now for Bigger Brother - a new poll

I just referred to our country's biggest political news of the week - but THAT means I'm neglecting the benevelant elephant we sleep ... erm ... share a continent with. And after all, it definitely loses me some Canadian cred to pay more attention to OUR pols than the ones down south. Soooo ... check my new poll - open now till November - about the U.S. elections coming up later this year.

YES ... WE ... CAN! :D

Stephen Harper's Apology

Stephen Harper apologized to natives this week for their longstanding treatment by Canada's Federal Government - particularly the creation of residential schools so that native children would be taken away for their education, often sponsored by churches (including mine - the United Church of Canada ... a rare blot on their human rights record).

Stephen Harper acknowledged that a sad element of the purpose of these schools was to "Kill the Indian in the child". As a teacher, and particularly as a teacher at a very culturally mixed and diverse school, I can't even begin to say how harmful that type of 'white-ification' is in itself, even at the best of times, with the best intentions. When you add into the mix the abusive corporal punishment employed, even for such infractions as speaking one's own native language when these children didn't know English or French, as well as longstanding allegations of sexual abuse, it creates an absolute toxic environment which has left the native community, and their relations with the rest of the country, terribly scarred.

While I am ashamed of my church's history in this regard, they were the first church in Canada to apologize for this on the record, in 1988. Twenty years later, a Conservative government does so on behalf of all the governments which preceded it. The Native community was gracious in its acceptance, even though it was a matter of discord up until the 11th hour whether First Nations leaders would be allowed into the House of Commons to formally respond to PM Harper's apology. Between that, and a Conservative Cabinet Minister's comments questioning the money provided to natives, and how it is being spent, the Prime Minister's apology - in itself not enough, and way to late, even if sincere - rings hollow. While the right thing to do, I certainly hope Mr. Harper backs it up with action, recompense, and better-faith negotation with native communities over land claims and other myriad issues going forward.

We are one Canada, a community defined by our many differences and diversities, and in spite of - or maybe because of - those differences, we've always done a better job, even in our 'mosaic' society, of being a fairly congenial society than our 'melting pot' neighbours to the south. The treatment of our natives is a serious blight on our record, and I hope we are now prepared to move forward with healing that should have begun ages ago, for a problem which never should have begun in the first place. Kinana'skomitina'wa'w. Ki'htwa'm ka-wa'p(a)mit(i)na'n.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Why this man inspires me

Even if you aren't into politics - please check out this video I put together to understand just what it is about Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama that is so inspiring.

How refreshing that he speaks so much better than the Shrub!

YES WE CAN!!!

*peace*


video

Sunday, June 8, 2008

I'm not dead ...

Just was finishing report cards, then sick, then away for the weekend. But I will be back tomorrow to tell you a little bit about it. Just didn't want my readers to stop reading due to a busy weekend.

And meanwhile want to wish my sweetie pie Alex - http://theverydaymother.blogspot.com - a very VERY happy belated birthday, after she showed me such a good time for mine a week ago. And also a very happy birthday to her little boy, and mucho congrats on the potty training progress! YAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!! :D

I also don't know if they read this but - on note of why I was away this weekend - wishing a lifetime of happiness to the Walkers, James & Megan. It was a lovely day yesterday guys, enjoy your moment, and many more in the future.

XO!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Barack Obama's 1st speech as the Democratic nominee

Sixteen months have passed since we first stood together on the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois. Thousands of miles have been traveled; millions of voices have been heard.

And because of what you said, because you decided that change must come to Washington, because you believed that this year must be different than all the rest, because you chose to listen not to your doubts or your fears, but to your greatest hopes and highest aspirations, tonight we mark the end of one historic journey with the beginning of another, a journey...

(APPLAUSE)

... a journey that will bring a new and better day to America.

Because of you, tonight I can stand here and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for the president of the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

But I want to thank -- I want to thank all those in Montana and South Dakota who stood up for change today. I want to thank every American who stood with us over the course of this campaign, through the good days and the bad, from the snows of Cedar Rapids to the sunshine of Sioux Falls.

And, tonight, I also want to thank the men and woman who took this journey with me as fellow candidates for president.

At this defining moment, at this defining moment for our nation, we should be proud that our party put forth one of the most talented, qualified field of individuals ever to run for office.

I have not just competed with them as rivals. I've learned from them as friends, as public servants, and as patriots who love America and are willing to work tirelessly to make this country better. They are leaders of this party and leaders that America will turn to for years to come.

And that is particularly true for the candidate who has traveled further on this journey than anyone else. Senator Hillary Clinton has made history in this campaign.

(APPLAUSE)

She has made history not just because she's a woman who has done what no woman has done before, but because she is a leader who inspires millions of Americans with her strength, her courage, and her commitment to the causes that brought us here tonight.

I congratulate her on her victory in South Dakota, and I congratulate her on the race that she has run throughout this contest.

(APPLAUSE)

We've certainly had our differences over the last 16 months. But as someone who's shared a stage with her many times, I can tell you that what gets Hillary Clinton up in the morning -- even in the face of tough odds -- is exactly what sent her and Bill Clinton to sign up for their first campaign in Texas all those years ago, what sent her to work at the Children's Defense Fund and made her fight for health care as first lady, what led her to the United States Senate and fueled her barrier-breaking campaign for the presidency: an unyielding desire to improve the lives of ordinary Americans, no matter how difficult the fight may be.

And you can rest assured that when we finally win the battle for universal health care in this country -- and we will win that fight -- she will be central to that victory.

(APPLAUSE)

When we transform our energy policy and lift our children out of poverty, it will be because she worked to help make it happen.

Our party and our country are better off because of her, and I am a better candidate for having had the honor to compete with Hillary Rodham Clinton.

(APPLAUSE)

There are those who say that this primary has somehow left us weaker and more divided. Well, I say that, because of this primary, there are millions of Americans who have cast their ballot for the very first time.

(APPLAUSE)

There are independents and Republicans who understand this election isn't just about a change of party in Washington, but also about the need to change Washington.

There are young people, and African-Americans, and Hispanic- Americans, and women of all ages who have voted in numbers that have broken records and inspired a nation.

(APPLAUSE)

All of you chose to support a candidate you believe in deeply. But at the end of the day, we aren't the reason you came out and waited in lines that stretched block after block to make your voice heard. You didn't do that...

(APPLAUSE)

You didn't do that because of me or Senator Clinton or anyone else. You did it because you know in your hearts that at this moment, a moment that will define a generation, we cannot afford to keep doing what we've been doing.

We owe our children a better future. We owe our country a better future. And for all those who dream of that future tonight, I say: Let us begin the work together. Let us unite in common effort to chart a new course for America.

In just a few short months, the Republican Party will arrive in St. Paul with a very different agenda. They will come here to nominate John McCain, a man who has served this country heroically. (APPLAUSE)

I honor, we honor the service of John McCain, and I respect his many accomplishments, even if he chooses to deny mine.

(APPLAUSE)

My differences with him -- my differences with him are not personal. They are with the policies he has proposed in this campaign, because while John McCain can legitimately tout moments of independence from his party in the past, such independence has not been the hallmark of his presidential campaign.

It's not change when John McCain decided to stand with George Bush 95 percent of the time, as he did in the Senate last year.

It's not change when he offers four more years of Bush economic policies that have failed to create well-paying jobs, or insure our workers, or help Americans afford the skyrocketing cost of college, policies that have lowered the real incomes of the average American family, widened the gap between Wall Street and Main Street, and left our children with a mountain of debt.

It's not change when he promises to continue a policy in Iraq that asks everything of our brave men and women in uniform and nothing of Iraqi politicians, a policy where all we look for are reasons to stay in Iraq, while we spend billions of dollars a month on a war that isn't making the American people any safer.

So I'll say this: There are many words to describe John McCain's attempt to pass off his embrace of George Bush's policies as bipartisan and new, but "change" is not one of them.

(APPLAUSE)

"Change" is not one of them, because change is a foreign policy that doesn't begin and end with a war that should've never been authorized and never been waged.

(APPLAUSE)

I won't stand here and pretend that there are many good options left in Iraq, but what's not an option is leaving our troops in that country for the next hundred years, especially at a time when our military is overstretched, our nation is isolated, and nearly every other threat to America is being ignored.

(APPLAUSE)

We must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in, but we -- but start leaving we must.

It's time for Iraqis to take responsibility for their future. It's time to rebuild our military and give our veterans the care and the benefits they deserve when they come home.

(APPLAUSE)

It's time to refocus our efforts on Al Qaida's leadership and Afghanistan, and rally the world against the common threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear weapons; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease. That's what change is.

Change, Minnesota, is realizing that meeting today's threats requires not just our firepower, but the power of our diplomacy: tough, direct diplomacy, where the president of the United States isn't afraid to let any petty dictator know where America stands and what we stand for.

(APPLAUSE)

We must once again have the courage and the conviction to lead the free world. That is the legacy of Roosevelt and Truman and Kennedy. That's what the American people demand. That's what change is.

(APPLAUSE)

Change is building an economy that rewards not just wealth, but the work and the workers who created it. It's understanding that the struggles facing working families can't be solved by spending billions of dollars on more tax breaks for big corporations and wealthy CEOs, but by giving a middle-class tax break to those who need it, and investing in our crumbling infrastructure, and transforming how we use energy, and improving our schools, and renewing our commitment to science and innovation.

(APPLAUSE)

It's understanding that fiscal responsibility and shared prosperity can go hand-in-hand, as they did when Bill Clinton was president.

(APPLAUSE)


John McCain has spent a lot of time talking about trips to Iraq in the last few weeks, but maybe if he spent some time taking trips to the cities and towns that have been hardest hit by this economy -- cities in Michigan, and Ohio, and right here in Minnesota -- he'd understand the kind of change that people are looking for.

(APPLAUSE)

Maybe if he went to Iowa and met the student who works the night shift after a full day of class and still can't pay the medical bills for a sister who's ill, he'd understand she can't afford four more years of a health care plan that only takes care of the healthy and the wealthy.

She needs us to pass health care right now, a plan that guarantees insurance to every American who wants it and brings down premiums for every family who needs it. That's the change we need, Minnesota. (APPLAUSE)

Maybe if John McCain went to Pennsylvania and he met the man who lost his job, but can't even afford the gas to drive around and look for a new one, he'd understand we can't afford four more years of our addiction to oil from dictators.

That man needs us to pass an energy policy that works with automakers to raise fuel standards, and makes corporations pay for their pollution, and oil companies invest their record profits in a clean energy future, an energy policy that will create millions of new jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced. That's the change we need, Minnesota.

(APPLAUSE)

And maybe if John McCain spent some time in the schools of South Carolina or St. Paul, Minnesota, or where he spoke tonight in New Orleans, Louisiana, he'd understand that we can't afford to leave the money behind for No Child Left Behind; that we owe it to our children to invest in early-childhood education; and recruit an army of new teachers and give them better pay and more support; and finally decide that, in this global economy, the chance to get a college education should not be a privilege for the few, but a birthright of every American.

That's the change we need in America. That's why I'm running for president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, the other side will come here in September and offer a very different set of policies and positions, and that is a good thing. That is a debate I look forward to.

(APPLAUSE)

It is a debate that the American people deserve on the issues that will help determine the future of this country and the future for our children.

But what you don't deserve is another election that's governed by fear, and innuendo, and division. What you won't hear from this campaign or this party is the kind of politics that uses religion as a wedge and patriotism as a bludgeon...

(APPLAUSE)

What you won't see from this campaign or this party is a politics that sees our opponents not as competitors to challenge, but enemies to polarize, because we may call ourselves Democrats and Republicans, but we are Americans first. We are always Americans first.

(APPLAUSE)

Despite what the good senator from Arizona may have said tonight, I've seen people of differing views and opinions find common cause many times during my two decades in public life, and I've brought many together myself.

I've walked arm-in-arm with community leaders on the south side of Chicago and watched tensions fade as black, white, and Latino fought together for good jobs and good schools.

I've sat across the table from law enforcement officials and civil rights advocates to reform a criminal justice system that sent 13 innocent people to death row.

I've worked with friends in the other party to provide more children with health insurance and more working families with a tax break, to curb the spread of nuclear weapons and ensure that the American people know where their tax dollars are being spent, and reduce the influence of lobbyists who have all too often set the agenda in Washington.

(APPLAUSE)

In our country, I have found that this cooperation happens not because we agree on everything, but because, behind all the false labels and false divisions and categories that define us, beyond all the petty bickering and point-scoring in Washington, Americans are a decent, generous, compassionate people, united by common challenges and common hopes.

And every so often, there are moments which call on that fundamental goodness to make this country great again.

So it was for that band of patriots who declared in a Philadelphia hall the formation of a more perfect union, and for all those who gave on the fields of Gettysburg and Antietam their last full measure of devotion to save that same union.

So it was for the greatest generation that conquered fear itself, and liberated a continent from tyranny, and made this country home to untold opportunity and prosperity.

So it was for the workers who stood out on the picket lines, the women who shattered glass ceilings, the children who braved a Selma bridge for freedom's cause.

So it has been for every generation that faced down the greatest challenges and the most improbable odds to leave their children a world that's better and kinder and more just.

And so it must be for us.

(APPLAUSE)

America, this is our moment. This is our time, our time to turn the page on the policies of the past...

(APPLAUSE) ... our time to bring new energy and new ideas to the challenges we face, our time to offer a new direction for this country that we love.

The journey will be difficult. The road will be long. I face this challenge -- I face this challenge with profound humility and knowledge of my own limitations, but I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people.

Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that, generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless...

(APPLAUSE)

... this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal...

(APPLAUSE)

... this was the moment when we ended a war, and secured our nation, and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth.

(APPLAUSE)

This was the moment, this was the time when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves and our highest ideals.

Thank you, Minnesota. God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

About Adoption

My mom sent me this email and I think it's wonderful:

Teacher Debbie Moon's first graders were discussing a picture of a family. One little boy in the picture had a different hair color than the other members. One of her students suggested that he was adopted.

A little girl said, "I know all about adoption, I was adopted."

"What does it mean to be adopted?" asked another child.

"It means", said the girl, "that you grew in your mommy's heart instead of her tummy!"