Sunday, December 25, 2011

 

Amidst a very busy couple of months where I haven't posted as much as I'd have liked, it has been such a blessing this weekend to celebrate Christ's birthday with my church family, and a holiday of love and togetherness with my family. It was our first Christmas without my grandfather, which was of course sad, because he'd have loved what Christmas was this year - a time of family togetherness, my parents and step-parents, my brother, my grandmother and step-grandmother, and of course us and the kids all together ... it was a time of generosity and love and stands out, despite that, as an amazing Christmas.

I hope everyone out there has enjoyed the holidays as much as we have, and will continue to do as it's off to Kitchener tomorrow to enjoy the last couple of nights of Chanukah with my in-laws, and see other family and friends out that-a-way. Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah, Seasons Greetings to one and all. XO

Monday, December 12, 2011

Alight at Night

This is what we did last night (not our video - and you don't need to watch the whole thing it's 10 minutes long - but worth checking out some highlights):



This is 'Alight at Night', an evening Christmas program at Upper Canada Village, an awesome old fashioned 'village', an outdoor living museum between Morrisburg and Ingleside in Eastern Ontario (not far from Cornwall, or Ottawa) - just Google it for more information; it's really cool. If you want something a bit shorter but neat to see, look on Youtube for Alight at Night and check out the 'sound and light show' featured in several videos. It's an amazing, family-friendly experience. Just be sure to dress nice and warm - it's nighttime in December after all! :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Jesus - Occupier?

First of all, please CLICK HERE to read the CNN religion blog I'm responding to, written by the head of the Family Research Council, Tony Perkins.

Now ... my first reaction was, oh my God, where do I even start with this? And then ... well, maybe I don't even need to start with it; it's such hooey, no one would believe this, would they?

Then I remember, many do - many good hearted folks have both this image of the Occupy movement adherents (if you've been living under a rock the last two months, look it up) as lazy, welfare-collecting hippies with a senes of entitlement, the first generation of 'Participation Ribbon' winners who don't understand life has winners and losers ... and this image of Jesus as a devout, socially and economically conservative figure in their own image. And I think this needs to be addressed.

First of all, I'm not even going to start with the religious aspect. I'm going to start with the point Perkins makes about halfway through this blog that "each of us is given the same opportunity to build our lives, and each of us shares the same responsibility to invest our lives for the purpose of bringing a return and leaving a legacy." I'm sorry - both of these points are simply fallacious. Ask anyone who has been discriminated against due to race or ethnicity, anyone who has been too poor to attend good schools, get good healthcare, anyone who graduated university (or didn't!) at a time when jobs were at a premium and thus was unable to get one ... opportunity is not equal. Nor is responsibility - and in a very sick twist Jesus would never approve of, oftentimes the largest bulk of the responsibility to fix the various messes in our world today is placed on the poor, as the rich benefit from lower tax cuts, from more secure jobs, from excellent severance packages when those jobs DO come to an end. This is just not true. Period. And anyone who can say with a straight face anymore that 'each of us is given the same opportunity to build our lives' has their head buried so deep in the sand I'm wondering if they'll ever seet he light.

Now, in terms of the Parable of the Talents Jesus shares - yes, it is a tale of hard work and responsibility. However, the master of the servants the master left responsible for his money also spoke to, and understood, that they might have different strengths, different ability levels - 'talents' as we understand the word today - and didn't specify what their calling necessarily was; he only asked them to care well for his belongings and do their best. Working to shape a more fair and equitable world to the best of our abilities - in terms perhaps better understood to more conservative Christians, caring for the Lord's creation until His return, as best as we can - is what we have been tasked with. This is not an homage to the free market - it is an homage to excelling as much as possible, and at least doing no harm. In that sense ... a few bad apples aside ... the occupiers are indeed living out the Jesus message.

Still not convinced? Well ... at the end of the day then, perhaps we should remember further words shared by this same Jesus - the one at the very heart of his Christian message:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.  
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.  
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.  
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.  
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.  
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Digital Nativity

I think I may have posted this last year, but it bears repeating.

May YOUR journey, following the star to the Bethlehem stable, be filled with wonder and joy.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Dirty Thirty

So the hubby turns 30 today. That's right, my Ari is now officially over the hill. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. :D

Love you, my dear. Happy birthday! XOXOXO

Friday, November 18, 2011

Two of the Best

This week has been quite the week in our little world. As we celebrated Little Tyke's third birthday on Tuesday, today we lost my grandfather, Cal Wilson, after a long  struggle. They have only visited a very few times but took well to each other each time. I will be spending my weekend, and a few days next week, celebrating both of these special people, and what they have meant to all of us. God bless you Grampa. And God bless you, little man. XO

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Remembrance Day

In the busy week that has passed, in the busy week ahead, I don't want to forget tomorrow is Remembrance Day. Our chance to remember those who died in fights, some of which we agreed with, some we didn't, but always so that we would have the right to have those discussions. It is a time to be thankful to those who made it home, but nonetheless took the ultimate risk. It's a time to remember the adage about 'supporting our troops ... bring them home', and hope someday, in a perfect world - the world these men and women died for - there will be no more need to send our young adults off to war.

In the words of Rick Mercer:



Thank you Grandpa ... an 88-year-old World War II veteran. Thank you Uncle Tommy, whose peacekeeping took him all over the world. And to Kyle, my brother, a former reservist, who never did go overseas but would have in a heartbeat. God bless us everyone.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Thank you Rick Mercer

I know I'm a few days behind on this one - I've been meaning to share but haven't had a whole lot of time to get back here to the blog. But after the suicide of Jamie Hubley here in Ottawa last week, due to being bullied for being an out gay student, Rick Mercer (think, Canada's answer to Jon Stewart in a way), had the following to say - which I appreciate greatly.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Two More Down

Knocked two more books off my list over the last two weeks or so - Girlfriend in a Coma, by Douglas Coupland, and The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold - which replaced Stephenie Meyer's The Host on my list. Started that book ... got about 100 pages in ... realized, it sucked ... might give it another old college try one day, but didn't enjoy it enough to pursue it. These two books, however ...

1. Dead and Gone - Charlaine Harris
2. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
3. Reading Lolita in Tehran - Azar Nafisi
4. The Year of Living Biblically - A.J. Jacobs
5. A History of God - Karen Armstrong
6. Dreams from My Father - Barack Obama
7. Beloved - Toni Morrison
8. 'Tis - Frank McCourt
9. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
10. The Constant Princess - Phillipa Gregory
11. Wicked - Gregory Maguire
12. The Six Wives of Henry the 8th - Alison Weir
13. Eleanor of Aquitaine - Alison Weir
14. Tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom
15. The Fellowship of the Ring - J.R.R. Tolkien
16. The Two Towers - J.R.R. Tolkien
17. The Return of the King - J.R.R. Tolkien
18. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling
19. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling
20. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling
21. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling
22. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling
23. Dracula - Bram Stoker
24. Last Night at the Chateau Marmont - Laura Weisberger
25. The Inferno - Dante
26. Towelhead - Alicia Erian
27. Sex, Lies, and Headlocks - Shaun Assael and Mike Mooneyham
28. The Way the Crow Flies - Ann-Marie MacDonald
29. The Robber Bride - Margaret Atwood
30. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
31. This United Church of Ours - Ralph Milton
32. Anansi Boys - Neil Gaiman
33. American Gods - Neil Gaiman
34. Stardust - Neil Gaiman
35. Tess of the d'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
36. The First Christmas - Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan
37. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
38. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
39. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
40. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
41. Deception Point - Dan Brown
42. Digital Fortress - Dan Brown
43. The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown
44. Lolita - Vladimir Nobokov
45. Atonement - Ian McEwan
46. All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren
47. Under the Dome - Stephen King
48. Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
49. The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
50. Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe
51. A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
52. Scarlett - Alexandra Ripley
53. White Noise - Don De Litto
54. Their Eyes were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston
55. Primary Colours - Anonymous
56. Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates
57. Ragtime - E.L. Doctorow
58. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark
59. Misquoting Jesus - Bart Ehrman
60. Fast Food Nation - Eric Schlasser
61. My Years as Prime Minister - Jean Chretien
62. Memoirs - Pierre Trudeau
63. Shake Hands with the Devil - Romeo d'Allaire
64. Team of Rivals - Doris Kearns Goodwin
65. The Secret Mulroney Tapes - Peter C. Newman
66. Why I Hate Canadians - Will Ferguson
67. Planet Simpson - Chris Turner
68. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
69. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe - Douglas Adams
70. Life, the Universe and Everything - Douglas Adams
71. So Long and Thanks for All the Fish - Douglas Adams
72. Mostly Harmless - Douglas Adams
73. Fifth Business - Robertson Davies
74. The Manticore - Robertson Davies
75. World of Wonders - Robertson Davies
76. The Donnellys - James Reaney
77. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
78. Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand
79. Farenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
80. Not Wanted on the Voyage - Timothy Findlay
81. A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
82. Coraline - Neil Gaiman
83. The Crucible - Arthur Miller
84. Mirror Mirror - Gregory Maguire
85. The Emerging Christian Way - Marcus Borg et al
86. Sorbonne Confidential - Laurel Zuckerman
87. What Happened to Anna K - Irina Reyn
88. The Silver Linings Playbook - Matthew Quick
89. Hey Nostradamus! - Douglas Coupland

90. Girlfriend in a Coma - Douglas Coupland
91. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
92. The 5 People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom
93. The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
94. Interview with the Vampire - Ann Rice
95. The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank
96. The Bonfire of the Vanities - Tom Wolfe
97. Guys and Dolls - Damon Runyon
98. Good Book - David Plotz
99. He's Just Not that Into You - Greg Behrendt, Liz Tuccillo, Lauren Monchik
100. Undisputed - Chris Jericho
101. Jesus for the Non-Religious - John Shelby Spong


Both of these books have some elements in common - both are semi metaphysical/mystical, have some discussion of the nature of Heaven and the afterlife, both begin in the face of angsty 1970s teenagerdom and proceed to discuss the decades of fallout following a tragic event - the death of a fourteen year old in The Lovely Bones, and the onset of Karen's coma in Girlfriend in a Coma.


Yet both are incredibly different - while Bones basically describes the impact of the loss of a child on her family, friends, school and neighbourhood from a variety of perspectives - and does a great job of it at that, so don't want to minimize that - Girlfriend is almost like 2-3 different stories in one. There's the first part, where Karen falls into and remains in her coma ... there's the part where she wakes up seventeen years later ... and there's the post-Apocalyptic distopia in which the main characters find themselves. They are both ensemble stories dealing with the impact of different events on a variety of characters, told from an individual's perspective - in both cases, largely from the perspective of the dearly departed - the murdered child in Bones' case, and a high school buddy who died of Leukemia in the case of Girlfriend.


Both are really good - they aren't hard reads from the perspective of language, book length, understandability, or any of that; although they are also obviously not entirely light subject matter (albeit with some humourous or lighter moments - moreso in Girlfriend; there can be a feeling in The Lovely Bones of the heavy, crushing sadness not letting up ... although it sometimes manifests itself in more tender and beautiful than horrible ways). I can recommend both books fairly strongly.

Friday, October 21, 2011

National Novel Writing Month - Coming Up!

So November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)! I have several friends who have done this at least a few years now, and I've wanted to since hearing about it - writing a novel is definitely on my bucket list! :) And I gave it a semi-honest shot in 2009 in that I signed up for an account and wrote a whole bunch of 'first pages' before giving up. But this is my first real, 'The kids are a bit bigger, I've figured out a way I can attend some of the write-ins, etc.' kind of situation. I don't know how weekday evenings will work, but Ari and I have already worked out an arrangement whereby on the weekends at least, he will be resuming his running (now that both boys are old enough for the running stroller) while I attend write-ins; and for my part, instead of wasting my time with TV or videogames or what have you after the boys go to bed, I will be writing instead.

So I don't know how this will affect my keeping up with my blog - my goal is that maybe it will actually enhance it as maybe I put some excerpts up here etc. But I'm pretty excited. Want to participate too? You can sign up by CLICKING HERE to become a NaNoWriMo participant. GOOD LUCK to all! :) XO

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In Memoriam

William Heaney, 1941-2011

My Uncle Bill Passed away last week. My dad's brother, my uncle, the father of my cousin and Godfather Billy. Of a heart attack. Thus the lack of blogging as we had this to face as a family. He was a good man, leaving behind his son, his daughter-in-law Carole, and grandsons Jonathan and Danny. Donations to the Cardiac Institute in Montreal in his name are appreciated.

Hug your loved ones. XO

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Happy (Belated) Thanksgiving

So, I know I'm incredibly late in posting this - and I apologize profusely. A week of some work, some job interviewing, and all of us getting the worst cold this side of cold and flu season, can do that. My every intention was to be back on track with blogging last week, and God-willing I will be again this week. Meanwhile though I did want to wish all of my Canadian family, friends and readers retroactively a fabulous Canadian Thanksgiving - I hope everyone got to share a delicious meal with loved ones and enjoy the unseasonably warm weather here in Ontario (shorts, t-shirts and sunhats ... in Canada ... in the middle of October ... I am not kidding you ... busting every stereotype known to man here!)

As always ... just a short list of things I am thankful for:

  1. My family - my parents, including steps- and in-laws, my brother, my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, husband, children ... you all brighten my day, and even when you don't (because let's face it, no family is 100% sympatico 100% of the time), there is always something to be learned, and I am grateful for the lessons. I could not ask for a better family ... I truly feel we are a team and face challenges together, while doing our best to avoid creating them ourselves. Do we always succeed? Heck, who does? But we love each other. And that's 99% of the battle right there.
  2. My friends. Great ones, good ones, challenging ones, long-forgotten ones. I can honestly say there is a very limited number of people in my life who have occupied space and not earned it. Much like with my family, I appreciate the support and the challenges, and I appreciate the relationships that take work - because they're worth it - and those which are easier - because they can be a breath of fresh air. Whether you make me work doubletime so our friendship isn't taken for granted, or whether I can just plain count on you, no questions asked ... you are important to me and I appreciate that.
  3. My work. I don't necessarily have the lovely, 100% fulltime public school teaching contract I might have dreamed of having by the time I was five years into my career. A Jack of All Trades, that's me - I supply teach, I am a part-time youth minister, and I teach online high school courses ad-hoc. But whether it's plain old networking and relationship-building en route to a more stable teaching position ... whether it's helping high school kids work toward their diploma ... or whether it's sharing the love of God with shiny, happy young faces at church, it is good and meaningful work I'm proud of at the end of the day.
  4. Dumb luck. I have clean water to drink, food to eat, a roof over my head, work to go to (often), a car to drive there ... I sometimes wonder if I've 'earned' these things ... some I have. Five years of school, working hard, earning everything we have ... I'm proud of that. But I also know at least some of the above comes from being born in the right place into the right opportunities.
I also want to express my thanks, lastly, for the last ten years. I know Ari, my husband, fit into the first thing I was thankful for - my family. But Friday came and went as the ten-year anniversary of us as a couple - when we actually acknowledged that one dance, two dates (and yes, they were dates, honey! lol ...) and how many countless hours of emailing, ICQ (yeah ... dating myself already with that one), and phoning, meant more than just "We're really good friends". 10 years, 9 addresses, 4 cities, 4 degrees, 1 wedding, 3 cars, 2 cats, 5 fish, 1 gerbil and ... oh yeah, 2 kids later, we're still going strong.

"Looks like we made it ... look how far we've come now, baby."

Monday, October 3, 2011

Primary Colours

So after a 2 week or so hiatus (my apologies - it has been a very, very busy time up in heeyah), I have turned my attention from Canadian politics to American politics, as I finished up Primary Colours by Joe Klein (originally published anonymously). This novel was reportedly based, with various degrees of looseness, on the Bill Clinton presidential campaign of 1992.

1. Dead and Gone - Charlaine Harris
2. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
3. Reading Lolita in Tehran - Azar Nafisi
4. The Year of Living Biblically - A.J. Jacobs
5. A History of God - Karen Armstrong
6. Dreams from My Father - Barack Obama
7. Beloved - Toni Morrison
8. 'Tis - Frank McCourt
9. The Host - Stephenie Meyers
10. The Constant Princess - Phillipa Gregory
11. Wicked - Gregory Maguire
12. The Six Wives of Henry the 8th - Alison Weir
13. Eleanor of Aquitaine - Alison Weir
14. Tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom
15. The Fellowship of the Ring - J.R.R. Tolkien
16. The Two Towers - J.R.R. TOlkien
17. The Return of the King - J.R.R. Tolkien
18. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling
19. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling
20. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling
21. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling
22. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling
23. Dracula - Bram Stoker
24. Last Night at the Chateau Marmont - Laura Weisberger
25. The Inferno - Dante
26. Towelhead - Alicia Erian
27. Sex, Lies, and Headlocks - Shaun Assael and Mike Mooneyham
28. The Way the Crow Flies - Ann-Marie MacDonald
29. The Robber Bride - Margaret Atwood
30. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
31. This United Church of Ours - Ralph Milton
32. Anansi Boys - Neil Gaiman
33. American Gods - Neil Gaiman
34. Stardust - Neil Gaiman
35. Tess of the d'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
36. The First Christmas - Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan
37. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
38. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
39. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
40. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
41. Deception Point - Dan Brown
42. Digital Fortress - Dan Brown
43. The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown
44. Lolita - Vladimir Nobokov
45. Atonement - Ian McEwan
46. All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren
47. Under the Dome - Stephen King
48. Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
49. The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
50. Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe
51. A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
52. Scarlett - Alexandra Ripley
53. White Noise - Don De Litto
54. Their Eyes were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston
55. Primary Colours - Anonymous
56. Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates
57. Ragtime - E.L. Doctorow
58. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark
59. Misquoting Jesus - Bart Ehrman
60. Fast Food Nation - Eric Schlasser
61. My Years as Prime Minister - Jean Chretien
62. Memoirs - Pierre Trudeau
63. Shake Hands with the Devil - Romeo d'Allaire
64. Team of Rivals - Doris Kearns Goodwin
65. The Secret Mulroney Tapes - Peter C. Newman
66. Why I Hate Canadians - Will Ferguson
67. Planet Simpson - Chris Turner
68. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
69. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe - Douglas Adams
70. Life, the Universe and Everything - Douglas Adams
71. So Long and Thanks for All the Fish - Douglas Adams
72. Mostly Harmless - Douglas Adams
73. Fifth Business - Robertson Davies
74. The Manticore - Robertson Davies
75. World of Wonders - Robertson Davies
76. The Donnellys - James Reaney
77. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
78. Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand
79. Farenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
80. Not Wanted on the Voyage - Timothy Findlay
81. A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
82. Coraline - Neil Gaiman
83. The Crucible - Arthur Miller
84. Mirror Mirror - Gregory Maguire
85. The Emerging Christian Way - Marcus Borg et al
86. Sorbonne Confidential - Laurel Zuckerman
87. What Happened to Anna K - Irina Reyn
88. The Silver Linings Playbook - Matthew Quick
89. Hey Nostradamus! - Douglas Coupland
90. Girlfriend in a Coma - Douglas Coupland
91. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
92. The 5 People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom
93. The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
94. Interview with the Vampire - Ann Rice
95. The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank
96. The Bonfire of the Vanities - Tom Wolfe
97. Guys and Dolls - Damon Runyon
98. Good Book - David Plotz
99. He's Just Not that Into You - Greg Behrendt, Liz Tuccillo, Lauren Monchik
100. Undisputed - Chris Jericho
101. Jesus for the Non-Religious - John Shelby Spong

This novel is absolutely breathtaking in terms of getting right to the ugly heart of American politics and the ugliness it has become. Personal foibles become the stuff of legend, while important policy ideas become secondary in the mind of the American public. Jack Stanton, a man whose political heart is in the right place despite his deep personal ammorality, finds himself and his wife sucked into a system they'd originally tried to fight, but ultimately become one of the worst symbols of. How true is this to the Clinton power couple? I'd like to think better of the Clinton legacy than that, however his own personal failings are well known and on public record. Either way, Joe Klein writes an interesting, riveting novel that even those not particularly familiar with the inner workings of politics shouldn't find too cumbersome to follow. I enjoyed it - I also strongly recommend the movie, which I watched years ago, starring John Travolta and Emma Thompson as Jack and Susan Stanton, and Kathy Bates as dustbuster Libby Holden, and Adrian Lester as Henry Burton. See the trailer below:



Friday, September 23, 2011

The Death Penalty

I know - a nice light topic for our edification today, huh? But in the past week, it's been on my mind a bit, as in the United States, Troy Davis - convicted twenty years ago for the murder of a police officer - was put to death this week, around the same time as we in Canada (which does not have capital punishment) learned of the terminal illness of serial killer Clifford Olson.

I am not going to deal with the guilt or innocence here of either man - not in any doubt in Olson's case, and in a fair bit of doubt in Davis' - because in large part that's not my central thesis here. I mean, it is, to the extent in general that judges and jurors are humans, who therefore almost by definition can err, and the fallibility of the legal process is reason #1 I'm anti-death penalty. I have said and still say that until and unless we can create an inerrant justice system in which the rate of wrongful conviction is, without any doubt, absolute 0, death is far too absolute and final a judgement to potentially go wrong with. In saying guilt or innocence here is irrelevant, it is more in the sense that I'm not familiar enough with the details of either case to speak to the guilt or innocence of either - particularly Davis', as I do believe Olson has confessed etc. But also, because there's a more salient point I want to address here.

Throughout the last week or two, the families' of both of the above mens' purported (or actual) victims have spoken of the relief they would feel when they got the phonecall informing them of the death of the accused. And this is often the #1 case made by advocates of capital punishment - the concept of victims' rights, of closure and some sense of retribution (which is a nice way of saying vengeance - yes - that high and lofty Christian ideal) for those who lost loved ones. And I want to make perfectly clear here, that I do sympathize with victims of crime. As admittedly snearing as the above sentence might have sounded, I actually am not one who judges people for falling short of ideals - particularly in un-ideal circumstances. It is completely natural for one who lost a loved one violently at another's hands to be angry ... to hate ... to wish to erase that person's existence, and the pain it has caused, from their world. Like anyone, I have experienced times in my life where others have hurt me and/or my loved ones, in some cases very badly. They have caused anger. They have caused me, in private - and sometimes not so privately - to question my own ideals, standards, beliefs, in light of new and painful realities.

However, it is that word, that concept - reality - which can so often get lost to pain. And the reality is, I think those waiting patiently for the phonecall that is going to change their life and take away their pain after so many years, are going to be sadly surprised by the reality of it. Once that phone is put back down - your loved one will still be gone, their former space at the table will still be empty, and really, justice won't have been served; because the true injustice is the years that you were robbed of, which nothing - not even the death of the accused - is ever going to be able to fix. And that isn't even compounding the injustice by bringing up the possibility that 'we might have been wrong' - that's the reality, even if we got the right dirty perp.

I want to pause now and point out I am a great believer in justice - and this means being tough on crime where need-be. Even as a true red-blooded progressive, I find the idea that murderers pretty much automatically get out of jail after 25 years laughable. And I believe again, that victims and their families have the right, as much as possible, to get whatever closure is reasonable on their pain. But I don't see how responding to death with death creates any more closure than the knowledge the criminal who hurt me and my family is left alone behind bars with the reality of their actions for the rest of their natural lives. That IS justice, that IS a cold and hard reality. And to anyone who says it's more mercy or better treatment than they showed others ... is that what we hold ourselves to? The standard of the most deviant among us? Let us be the things these monsters aren't ... let us be firm but merciful, tough but reasonable ... that is truly the way of honouring those lost to crime and violence - to end that nightmare cycle, at the end of which really, whatever we tell ourselves ... grief remains.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Happy Birthday Gramma!

I want to wish my Gramma a happy birthday tomrorow! Not sure if I'm going to be able to blog during the day (although of course I will give her a call) but I wanted to take the time and wish her a very, very lovely birthday weekend, and a fabulous year ahead. My gramma is the coolness, and always has been. XO

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Friday, September 9, 2011

More Reading

After reading the Secret Mulroney Tapes, I was really on a tear for books about Canadian Prime Ministers. Hence, I moved on to "My Years as Prime Minister" by Jean Chretien.

1. Dead and Gone - Charlaine Harris
2. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
3. Reading Lolita in Tehran - Azar Nafisi
4. The Year of Living Biblically - A.J. Jacobs
5. A History of God - Karen Armstrong
6. Dreams from My Father - Barack Obama
7. Beloved - Toni Morrison
8. 'Tis - Frank McCourt
9. The Host - Stephenie Meyers
10. The Constant Princess - Phillipa Gregory
11. Wicked - Gregory Maguire
12. The Six Wives of Henry the 8th - Alison Weir
13. Eleanor of Aquitaine - Alison Weir
14. Tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom
15. The Fellowship of the Ring - J.R.R. Tolkien
16. The Two Towers - J.R.R. TOlkien
17. The Return of the King - J.R.R. Tolkien
18. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling
19. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling
20. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling
21. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling
22. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling
23. Dracula - Bram Stoker
24. Last Night at the Chateau Marmont - Laura Weisberger
25. The Inferno - Dante
26. Towelhead - Alicia Erian
27. Sex, Lies, and Headlocks - Shaun Assael and Mike Mooneyham
28. The Way the Crow Flies - Ann-Marie MacDonald
29. The Robber Bride - Margaret Atwood
30. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
31. This United Church of Ours - Ralph Milton
32. Anansi Boys - Neil Gaiman
33. American Gods - Neil Gaiman
34. Stardust - Neil Gaiman
35. Tess of the d'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
36. The First Christmas - Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan
37. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
38. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
39. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
40. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
41. Deception Point - Dan Brown
42. Digital Fortress - Dan Brown
43. The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown
44. Lolita - Vladimir Nobokov
45. Atonement - Ian McEwan
46. All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren
47. Under the Dome - Stephen King
48. Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
49. The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
50. Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe
51. A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
52. Scarlett - Alexandra Ripley
53. White Noise - Don De Litto
54. Their Eyes were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston
55. Primary Colours - Anonymous
56. Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates
57. Ragtime - E.L. Doctorow
58. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark
59. Misquoting Jesus - Bart Ehrman
60. Fast Food Nation - Eric Schlasser
61. My Years as Prime Minister - Jean Chretien
62. Memoirs - Pierre Trudeau
63. Shake Hands with the Devil - Romeo d'Allaire
64. Team of Rivals - Doris Kearns Goodwin
65. The Secret Mulroney Tapes - Peter C. Newman
66. Why I Hate Canadians - Will Ferguson
67. Planet Simpson - Chris Turner
68. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
69. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe - Douglas Adams
70. Life, the Universe and Everything - Douglas Adams
71. So Long and Thanks for All the Fish - Douglas Adams
72. Mostly Harmless - Douglas Adams
73. Fifth Business - Robertson Davies
74. The Manticore - Robertson Davies
75. World of Wonders - Robertson Davies
76. The Donnellys - James Reaney
77. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
78. Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand
79. Farenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
80. Not Wanted on the Voyage - Timothy Findlay
81. A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
82. Coraline - Neil Gaiman
83. The Crucible - Arthur Miller
84. Mirror Mirror - Gregory Maguire
85. The Emerging Christian Way - Marcus Borg et al
86. Sorbonne Confidential - Laurel Zuckerman
87. What Happened to Anna K - Irina Reyn
88. The Silver Linings Playbook - Matthew Quick
89. Hey Nostradamus! - Douglas Coupland
90. Girlfriend in a Coma - Douglas Coupland
91. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
92. The 5 People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom
93. The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
94. Interview with the Vampire - Ann Rice
95. The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank
96. The Bonfire of the Vanities - Tom Wolfe
97. Guys and Dolls - Damon Runyon
98. Good Book - David Plotz
99. He's Just Not that Into You - Greg Behrendt, Liz Tuccillo, Lauren Monchik
100. Undisputed - Chris Jericho
101. Jesus for the Non-Religious - John Shelby Spong

One thing I will give for this book off the bat - you can hear Chretien's voice throughout it. Of course it's an autobiography with a particular historical bias and perspective - but I feel he explains himself, his experiences, his choices and his perspective very well. I respect his toughness and his willingness to stand by his decisions, while still being willing to acknowledge at least the odd mistake here and there. He manages to share honestly about his troublesome dealings with Paul Martin without totally throwing him under the bus (just a car instead ...), and his love of his country, family, and job shine through every page. This isn't a pretty, misty-edged romance, but a very real and interesting perspective from a 35-year veteran of Canadian politics, who saw two Presidents of the United States, nine Leaders of the Opposition (I believe) sitting across from him as Prime Minister, and, prior to holding that job, had held virtually every cabinet position available in Canada. I almost want to read 'From the Heart', his first memoir, now, so interesting was this one (the odd time I read the sequel first!).

Friday, September 2, 2011

Two Tributes

While we were away last week, Canada lost a great man in Jack Layton, newly Leader of the Opposition, leading the New Democratic Party to its greatest showing yet, and landing them as the official opposition party for the first time in history. Prior to the campaign, Layton had undergone hip surgery, and, perhaps more seriously, seemd to have beaten back cancer.

However, after serving as Leader of the Opposition in the house for only a matter of days, during the summer session in July, Layton announced he was temporarily stepping down due to treatment required for a new, apparently more aggressive cancer. He looked frail and gaunt, but determined to return to Parliament when it reopened September 19. Unfortunately, it was not to be, and this past Monday, August 22, Jack succumbed to his illness. He left behind a letter for all Canadians which can be found easily by googling Jack Layton's letter; youtube footage is available of his funeral last Saturday. But as a fitting tribute to share on this site, I want to include Jack's own words, in his own voice from election night this year, to remind everyone of what he stood for, and the battle that all progressives, be they Liberal or NDP, face ahead. May Jack rest in peace, and may we not just yet.



On a smaller scale, Canada's most senior news anchor, Lloyd Robertson of CTV news, told us yesterday for the last time what kind of day it's been, as he hangs up the microphone after 40+ years behind the anchor's desk, and 35 years at the CTV. Perhaps the most fun reflection on who Robertson was can be found here, in the following Royal Canadian Air Farce tribute:





Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Last Ten Days ...

So it's been an insane 10 days! On August 20, we went back to Southwestern Ontario for Little J's naming ceremony ... a lovely weekend with family and friends. Ari's grandma from California was there, and we got to see so many folks we hadn't seen since at least the holidays ... it was so wonderful to see so many people come together for our little family.


credit for the above photo to Alex Pominville of Pominville Photography.

It was then off to Wildwood, NJ on the Jersey Shore for a week at my favourite childhood vacation spot. After 12 hours of driving spread over two days (including an overnight in Binghamton, NY), we reached our destination, and it was a blast! :)



The boys enjoyed the beach ...




Although my fearless Little Tyke developed a bit of spooks around the waves, which is unlike him, and a bit sad and diasppointing, but of course in a way almost a relief to his parents who are glad he's so brave, but sometimes wish he understood the idea of danger a BIT better ...

And rides ...


But it was definitely a weird week at the same time. The first sign of the strangeness to come was an earthquake we felt on our first day out on the beach. Apparently, a 5.8-magnitude quake hit Virginia, down the coast, which we managed to feel up in Jersey (I've heard from some Ontarians they felt it too - so apparently quite the thing).

Unfortunately, though, as minor as that was where we were, it was only the harbinger of things to come. Our lovely, almost week-long vacation, it turns out, was only meant to last 3 days instead of six, as on Thursday we received word that Hurricane Irene was heading up the coast to the Jersey Shore, and Wildwood was being evacuated as of 8am Friday morning.



A bitterly disappointed Daigen family loaded up all of our stuff and began the drive inland and north, eventually reaching Montreal, where we decided to make SOMETHING of our two remaining days of vacation anyway, hitting the Biodome on Sunday, featuring animals and plant life from four ecosystems found in the Americas (the rain forest, the gulf of St. Lawrence, the St. Lawrence maple forest, and the sub-polar region).


The boys even got to ride on their first subway - Montreal's excellent Metro!


Incidentally, Montreal met Irene as well on Sunday, only she wasn't quite so harsh to La Belle Ville as she was to the Jersey Shore.



And we checked out the Ecomuseum Zoo on Monday on our way, finally, home.


We calculated almost 40 hours of driving, 4 hotels, 5 different cities overnight, and just about every kind of weather but snow on this trip. Relaxing beachside family vacation, as planned? Not exactly. An unforgettable adventure? Yeah ... one could say that.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Happy Birthday Little J!


Happy birthday to Little J, our youngest baby, this handsome, chili-covered sweetie above. Today, he turns one. Tomorrow, we're heading back to Kitchener-Waterloo to celebrate his birthday and 'naming' - an ecumenical mashup between a Baptism and a briss, with less bloodshed - with dear family and friends, one year to the day after we learned this little wonderbaby had come into the world, and Little Tyke was a big brother. After that, we're heading to the New Jersey shore for, what, if I say so myself, I consider to be some well-deserved fun in the sun. :) So if the blogging is less frequent over the next few days ... please know that means there will be more to talk about later. We're going to enjoy the last couple weeks of summer.

How will YOU be spending them?

Monday, August 15, 2011

VACATION!!!



Yeah - you can see where my head's at. lol Can't wait ...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Summer Reading

Hi guys,

Just wanted to mention a couple of books I've read in the last week - the fact I've gone through two books this week tells you they weren't terribly difficult to read, and took little enough time I'm not adding them to my 101 book list - however, I wanted to share that, while somewhat (okay a lot) fluffy, they were fun reads and I'm sure if I thought about it I could criticize their quality as 'literature' ... but that's just it, I wasn't thinking. :)

UNTOLD STORY by Monica Ali documents what might have happened if Princess Diana had survived that car crash in Paris, only to fake her own death about a month later in a drowning/shark attack off the coast of Brazil, to go on to live undercover in small-town America. By far the smarter of these two books, it's still pulp lit, but a lot of fun, with a fair bit of thought put into it. Just because it's short-ish, and easy to read, I can imagine it having been a challenge to plot out and write - and I applaud Monica Ali for applying her talent as best she could to a real mass-appeal novel that will grab the tabloid-reading crowd, without being God-awful, or really even bad by any stretch.

SWEET VALLEY CONFIDENTIAL covers the lives of Sweet Valley High's famous Wakefield Twins, Elizabeth and Jessica, ten years and one huge falling out later. Updating everyone who grew up on the Sweet Valley pablum in their tweens and teens on the lives of the beautiful California girls and their friends, while this is the definition of drug store pulp, as a former SVH reader, I have to admit it was worth it if for nothing but the nostalgia factor. You'll be surprised who you root for - absolute trash, but of the most fun kind. :)

What has everyone else been reading this summer?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Wildwood Bound

In two weeks from right now, we will have just come back to our hotel room in Wildwood NJ after our first evening on their famous Boardwalk. We will have celebrated Little J's birthday and naming ceremony with family and friends, and spent some time back in our hometown, which we're also looking forward to bigtime.

In between, we will be cleaning, packing, working, parenting, enjoying the lovely summer ... not necessarily in that order lol. It's been such a good one. And as it winds down and we look forward to our vacation, it is also time that teacher hiring swings back into something of a higher gear - wish me luck in that department too! It's all just life, man ... and we're enjoying it currently.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Reading Update

I just completed "The Secret Mulroney Tapes" by acclaimed (though conservative) Canadian journalist Peter C. Newman. While not a completely unbiased or magisterially historical biography - Newman explains why early on in the book, due to Mulroney's lack of follow-through providing him confidential documents that could have fleshed out this story - what this might lack as a comprehensive, exhaustive look at 'The Mulroney Years' it more than makes up for as a character sketch of one of the most controversial, yet accomplished and risk-taking, Prime Ministers in Canadian history.

1. Dead and Gone - Charlaine Harris
2. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
3. Reading Lolita in Tehran - Azar Nafisi
4. The Year of Living Biblically - A.J. Jacobs
5. A History of God - Karen Armstrong
6. Dreams from My Father - Barack Obama
7. Beloved - Toni Morrison
8. 'Tis - Frank McCourt
9. The Host - Stephenie Meyers
10. The Constant Princess - Phillipa Gregory
11. Wicked - Gregory Maguire
12. The Six Wives of Henry the 8th - Alison Weir
13. Eleanor of Aquitaine - Alison Weir
14. Tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom
15. The Fellowship of the Ring - J.R.R. Tolkien
16. The Two Towers - J.R.R. TOlkien
17. The Return of the King - J.R.R. Tolkien
18. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling
19. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling
20. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling
21. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling
22. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling
23. Dracula - Bram Stoker
24. Last Night at the Chateau Marmont - Laura Weisberger
25. The Inferno - Dante
26. Towelhead - Alicia Erian
27. Sex, Lies, and Headlocks - Shaun Assael and Mike Mooneyham
28. The Way the Crow Flies - Ann-Marie MacDonald
29. The Robber Bride - Margaret Atwood
30. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
31. This United Church of Ours - Ralph Milton
32. Anansi Boys - Neil Gaiman
33. American Gods - Neil Gaiman
34. Stardust - Neil Gaiman
35. Tess of the d'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
36. The First Christmas - Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan
37. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
38. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
39. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
40. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
41. Deception Point - Dan Brown
42. Digital Fortress - Dan Brown
43. The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown
44. Lolita - Vladimir Nobokov
45. Atonement - Ian McEwan
46. All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren
47. Under the Dome - Stephen King
48. Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
49. The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
50. Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe
51. A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
52. Scarlett - Alexandra Ripley
53. White Noise - Don De Litto
54. Their Eyes were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston
55. Primary Colours - Anonymous
56. Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates
57. Ragtime - E.L. Doctorow
58. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark
59. Misquoting Jesus - Bart Ehrman
60. Fast Food Nation - Eric Schlasser
61. My Years as Prime Minister - Jean Chretien
62. Memoirs - Pierre Trudeau
63. Shake Hands with the Devil - Romeo d'Allaire
64. Team of Rivals - Doris Kearns Goodwin
65. The Secret Mulroney Tapes - Peter C. Newman
66. Why I Hate Canadians - Will Ferguson
67. Planet Simpson - Chris Turner
68. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
69. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe - Douglas Adams
70. Life, the Universe and Everything - Douglas Adams
71. So Long and Thanks for All the Fish - Douglas Adams
72. Mostly Harmless - Douglas Adams
73. Fifth Business - Robertson Davies
74. The Manticore - Robertson Davies
75. World of Wonders - Robertson Davies
76. The Donnellys - James Reaney
77. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
78. Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand
79. Farenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
80. Not Wanted on the Voyage - Timothy Findlay
81. A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
82. Coraline - Neil Gaiman
83. The Crucible - Arthur Miller
84. Mirror Mirror - Gregory Maguire
85. The Emerging Christian Way - Marcus Borg et al
86. Sorbonne Confidential - Laurel Zuckerman
87. What Happened to Anna K - Irina Reyn
88. The Silver Linings Playbook - Matthew Quick
89. Hey Nostradamus! - Douglas Coupland
90. Girlfriend in a Coma - Douglas Coupland
91. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
92. The 5 People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom
93. The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
94. Interview with the Vampire - Ann Rice
95. The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank
96. The Bonfire of the Vanities - Tom Wolfe
97. Guys and Dolls - Damon Runyon
98. Good Book - David Plotz
99. He's Just Not that Into You - Greg Behrendt, Liz Tuccillo, Lauren Monchik
100. Undisputed - Chris Jericho
101. Jesus for the Non-Religious - John Shelby Spong

While not a completely unbiased or magisterially historical biography - Newman explains why early on in the book, due to Mulroney's lack of follow-through providing him confidential documents that could have fleshed out this story - what this might lack as a comprehensive, exhaustive look at 'The Mulroney Years' it more than makes up for as a character sketch of one of the most controversial, yet accomplished and risk-taking, Prime Ministers in Canadian history. What this book did for me, while solidifying my perception of him as arrogant and self-aggrandizing, was mellow my view of him as an ideological Reagan-ite or Thatcher-ite. More left-leaning than I thought, if anyone has successfully squared the circle of the 'Progressive Conservative' oxymoron, it is Mulroney. I definitely recommend this read - it's not heavy politics or history, it's completely digestible, and gives you a front row seat to the movers and shakers in an incredibly intense and important time in Canadian history.

Thank you Matt Damon!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Congrats Kyle!

Guys! Today was the North American piping and drumming championships in nearby Maxville, at the Glengarry Highland Games. The grade 1 competition was won by the Peel Police Pipe & Drum band, of which my brother Kyle, a tenor drummer, is a part. They're off to the World Piping Championships in Glasgow next month (August). Congrats guys and all the best through the rest of the season! :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mean - Taylor Swift

Norway and other sad news ...

I know these thoughts are dated - I became ill overnight Friday, spent Saturday in bed, and we have been passing whatever bug it is around since, pretty much - and/or I've been working.

But I have found the news of the terrorist attack in Norway - and no mistake, just because it was only one person, and (gasp!) a non-Muslim, it was just that, a terrorist attack - incredibly sad. This peaceful nation where even the police are unarmed (firearms are kept in a lockbox in their car, which they require permission to retrieve) was nowhere near prepared for such a tragedy and the loss of life in such a small country - or any country - is painful. For Glenn Beck yesterday to have compared the youth camp that was attacked to the Hitler Youth, simply for being a politically-engaged group of young adults and teens, was obscene and tasteless. A young generation of people engaged in the public life of their country, an active citizenry, is something we in North America can look toward with envy ... another thing robbed along with innocence there.

I find myself oscillating between whether this nutcase - whose name I will not publish, nor links to his manifestoes, as if there is anything that has become clear, it is that his ultimate goal is not only the 'revolution' he is attempting to start in Norway, but also attention, whether for himself or for his cause - deserves an open trial as all citizens do, or whether that would simply give him the attention and platform he so craves. The democrat in me of course cries out for an open trial, for the process of justice being done to be transparent ... on the other hand, he doesn't deserve a blessed thing he wants, and he wants cameras and tape recorders on him. This is what terrorism does to democracy, to justice ... it makes us doubt the very foundations of who we are as a people. Sad.

Also sad was the news here in Canada that Opposition Leader Jack Layton would be temporarily stepping down to battle a new cancer - not the prostate cancer he was diagnosed with about 18 months ago that he seems to have under control - one, judging from the look and sound of him, which is infinitely more severe, and yet, judging from his optimistic tone, one he remains confident he can battle and win over. There are conflicting signs - a previously very open Layton playing specifics very close to the vest; an optimistic tone contrasting with a very poignant visual. But reality is reality and for better or worse this will play its course - we hope for, and plan, for the better.

As a Liberal whose loyalties are currently shaky in the light of years of corruption, arrogance, and the lack of a leader to whip those elements back under control and take the proper lead of Canada's Party, I have looked to Jack as the best leader on the national scene right now - the leader of a party who I agree with 80-90% of their platform if not 100%, and the best voice to counter the new Conservative majority. We need him - and on a more personal note, after years of hard work, he deserves the chance to do this job - once thought to be the highest he could even in his wildest dreams hope of achieving. He's a hair's breadth away from the Prime Ministership; he - and Canada - deserve that chance. Our prayers are with him and his family for his continued health, and his return to leadership when the house resumes in September.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Where have I been?

Dear all,

The answer to the above question is, BUSY!

Working two jobs - even jobs that I'm reasonably enjoying - definitely drops the blog on the priority list; hope that's understandable. But I want to say we're well, we're happy, and our time has been well spent as we hit up Ogdensburg NY this past weekend for some cross-border shopping (and to take Little J's passport out for its first spin), as well as a beach day Sunday. This coming weekend the boys have a birthday party to go to, before getting some babysitting around their bedtime (so we don't miss out on their company - one of our biggest challenges especially both working full-time-and-then-some, is having couple time, without being away from the kids more than we already), so we can have a date night (thanks to our lovely neighbours T&C).

We're a month to the day away from our vacation. Can NOT wait - two days in Kitchener Ontario, our hometown, for Little J's 'naming' and birthday celebrations, before heading down to Wildwood, New Jersey, for some family friendly Jersey Shore time. :) We'll be heading home by way of New York City so we'll get to catch Ari's aunt, uncle and cousin then also.

Meanwhile though I'm still kickin' and thanks for bearing with me; I will do my very best now that I've gotten out from under a bit of a backlog in my one job, to keep up here. :) If not, hey, it's the summer - everything slows down except life itself apparently. Hope yours is going well!

XO Sarah

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Parenting in a Multiethnic Family

Please CLICK HERE for an amazing article by my friend Kate over at http://www.perpetuallynesting.com - amazing.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Summer Reading ...

I finished up "Last Night at the Chateau Marmont" earlier this week and thought I'd take a moment to share my thoughts. It was a long enough book I felt it not cheating too much to replace a book below with it. So BEGONE Paradise Lost ... OK yeah so it's a superlong classic being replaced by a 300 page chick-lit novel ... and I debated long and hard whether or not to replace it, but realistically it's not one I'd have gotten through in the allotted time anyway ... so I feel a bit less bad about it I think.

1. Dead and Gone - Charlaine Harris
2. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
3. Reading Lolita in Tehran - Azar Nafisi
4. The Year of Living Biblically - A.J. Jacobs
5. A History of God - Karen Armstrong
6. Dreams from My Father - Barack Obama
7. Beloved - Toni Morrison
8. 'Tis - Frank McCourt
9. The Host - Stephenie Meyers
10. The Constant Princess - Phillipa Gregory
11. Wicked - Gregory Maguire
12. The Six Wives of Henry the 8th - Alison Weir
13. Eleanor of Aquitaine - Alison Weir
14. Tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom
15. The Fellowship of the Ring - J.R.R. Tolkien
16. The Two Towers - J.R.R. TOlkien
17. The Return of the King - J.R.R. Tolkien
18. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling
19. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling
20. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling
21. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling
22. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling
23. Dracula - Bram Stoker
24. Last Night at the Chateau Marmont - Laura Weisberger
25. The Inferno - Dante
26. Towelhead - Alicia Erian
27. Sex, Lies, and Headlocks - Shaun Assael and Mike Mooneyham
28. The Way the Crow Flies - Ann-Marie MacDonald
29. The Robber Bride - Margaret Atwood
30. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
31. This United Church of Ours - Ralph Milton
32. Anansi Boys - Neil Gaiman
33. American Gods - Neil Gaiman
34. Stardust - Neil Gaiman
35. Tess of the d'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
36. The First Christmas - Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan
37. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
38. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
39. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
40. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
41. Deception Point - Dan Brown
42. Digital Fortress - Dan Brown
43. The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown
44. Lolita - Vladimir Nobokov
45. Atonement - Ian McEwan
46. All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren
47. Under the Dome - Stephen King
48. Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
49. The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
50. Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe
51. A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
52. Scarlett - Alexandra Ripley
53. White Noise - Don De Litto
54. Their Eyes were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston
55. Primary Colours - Anonymous
56. Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates
57. Ragtime - E.L. Doctorow
58. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark
59. Misquoting Jesus - Bart Ehrman
60. Fast Food Nation - Eric Schlasser
61. My Years as Prime Minister - Jean Chretien
62. Memoirs - Pierre Trudeau
63. Shake Hands with the Devil - Romeo d'Allaire
64. Team of Rivals - Doris Kearns Goodwin
65. The Secret Mulroney Tapes - Peter C. Newman
66. Why I Hate Canadians - Will Ferguson
67. Planet Simpson - Chris Turner
68. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
69. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe - Douglas Adams
70. Life, the Universe and Everything - Douglas Adams
71. So Long and Thanks for All the Fish - Douglas Adams
72. Mostly Harmless - Douglas Adams
73. Fifth Business - Robertson Davies
74. The Manticore - Robertson Davies
75. World of Wonders - Robertson Davies
76. The Donnellys - James Reaney
77. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
78. Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand
79. Farenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
80. Not Wanted on the Voyage - Timothy Findlay
81. A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
82. Coraline - Neil Gaiman
83. The Crucible - Arthur Miller
84. Mirror Mirror - Gregory Maguire
85. The Emerging Christian Way - Marcus Borg et al
86. Sorbonne Confidential - Laurel Zuckerman
87. What Happened to Anna K - Irina Reyn
88. The Silver Linings Playbook - Matthew Quick
89. Hey Nostradamus! - Douglas Coupland
90. Girlfriend in a Coma - Douglas Coupland
91. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
92. The 5 People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom
93. The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
94. Interview with the Vampire - Ann Rice
95. The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank
96. The Bonfire of the Vanities - Tom Wolfe
97. Guys and Dolls - Damon Runyon
98. Good Book - David Plotz
99. He's Just Not that Into You - Greg Behrendt, Liz Tuccillo, Lauren Monchik
100. Undisputed - Chris Jericho
101. Jesus for the Non-Religious - John Shelby Spong

So ... as stated above ... chick lit ... and not even quite the same quality chick lit as The Time Traveller's Wife. But it was such enjoyable fun! :) The characters make you mad sometimes - you want them to just stop and actually talk to one another instead of bottling everything up. You can't help but think, if they had such a great relationship, they'd do so, and be more considerate of each other's needs - make plans and compromises before things get out of hand. Still, then there would be no book, would there? It's an easy read, fast-paced page turner. Don't read if you are looking for anything particularly deep or thought-provoking; any conflicts or 'villains' are fairly superficial and never quite feel like real threats. But for a fun romance that won't take you more than a few days to read - excellent summer beach/camp/cottage reading fare - I still recommend it, and don't want my cynicism about the literary quality of the book to reflect at all on the fun and enjoyability of the read.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy Long Weekend!



To my Canadian friends: Happy 144th birthday Canada! Did you see the Royals this weekend?
To my American friends: Congratulations on the 235th anniversary of getting those pesky Royals out. :)

For real: I hope all my my American and Canadian friends and family have had/are having a fabulous long weekend celebrating the wonderful things I strongly believe both of our countries stand for. God bless us, every one.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

Congratulations

This weekend was a lovely one. After two days as Wonder-housekeeper, I deemed the place officially fit for parental units (both my own, and the in-laws) to visit. Enter Ari's folks. Why? To babysit the wee ones so we could attend a wedding rehearsal - I was set to read, and needed to practice. Sort of.

Which meant, of course, a wedding was around the corner! That was Saturday. Enter not only the in-laws, again to do a beautiful (and dirty) job watching the kiddos, but my mother, my step-dad, my brother, his plus-one and my grandma, to attend Mr. and Mrs. Shelley's big day. It was untold oodles of brilliant fun. :) Capped off by a BBQ with all the same players (minus my brother and G who had to go home) on Sunday, I can honestly not remember a weekend more fun than this one in a long time. Unless of course it was the one before, the one featuring a waterpark, a wedding anniversary, and Father's Day on an amphibus.

The summer is here and the time is awesome personified, as predicted - even if the blogging remains a bit more irregular than I'd hoped. Now ... if only I could find some lucre-inducing occupation for a couple of months, now that the school year endeth, to keep the good times rolling. Surely finding some 6-8 week clerical position to tool around in and keep the homefires burning shouldn't be too hard ... right?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

John McGee - Idaho State Senator - Arrested for DUI and Grand Theft Auto

Please watch the video below and riddle me this, Batman - Anthony Weiner sends some admittedly inappropriate photos and exhibits incredibly poor personal judgement, but represents his consistuents well and has effectively been cleared of any politica wrongdoing in terms of using any congressional resources etc. (Yes - he communicated with a 17 year old girl on Twitter, however it has since come out it was innocent - unseemly in light of recent events, but completely non-sexual in nature). Yet his resignation is sought - nay, demanded, insisted upon - by the Democratic machinery. Meanwhile Idaho Republicans are taking a 'wait and see' approach to handling one of their own in light of, in my opinion, a much worse, more dangerous, and ugly scandal. Just saying.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Happy Anniversary

It's not quite there yet but I won't have time to post this tomorrow.

June 18 2005. I married the man with whom I celebrate 6 years of marriage tomorrow. In those six years we have ...

Lived in 5 homes ...
Had at least 10 fulltime jobs between us ...
Earned 2 degrees ...
Bought 3 cars ...
Lived in 3 cities ...
Visited 2 continents ...
Had two children.

Would I do anything different? Yeah. Not much I don't think.

I was teasing Ari last night about how Snoop Dogg bought his wife a dozen roses and a sports car for THEIR anniversary. This is what Ari greeted me at the door with today:



Thanks honey! :) I uh ... appreciate it. Or something. ;) Happy Anniversary!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Summer Lovin', Havin' a Blast ...

So - it's a busy time in the life of the Daigen clan (yeah I know - does a blog entry go by where I don't say that?). But at least we're at a point now we're into a routine, and it's productive weekdays and fun-filled weekends. I'm excited about the summer.

This weekend is a special time for us, as Saturday is our 6th wedding anniversary, and Sunday is, of course, Father's Day. The weekend afterward is all about family, as my cousin is getting married! Friday is the wedding rehearsal, which I will be attending as I'm doing a reading. Saturday is the wedding itself - my whole mom's side will be there; Kyle my brother is coming up, and my grandmother will be there too. My lovely in-laws are going to come into town to babysit the kiddies so we can go to the wedding, and they'll be joining us at a barbecue at my mother's the Sunday before heading back to Southwestern Ontario.

Canada Day Weekend follows, and maybe by then I'll have convinced the dear husband to head downtown and try our best to catch a glimpse of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge - less formally known as Will and Kate. From there, hopefully at least I will have found a job and we'll have settled in to a routine until the end of August, when we head back to SW Ontario ourselves for Little J's birthday party and naming ceremony, and then to the Jersey Shore to get our GTL on have some R&R and enjoy the boardwalk, the beach, some fun in the sun.

Hopefully in between all that there will be some work accomplished, some reading and blogging done and all that ... what are YOUR summer plans? :)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Book List Update

But before I start ... Happy Happy Birthday to my girlfriend Alex! :) Hoping she has a wonderful year ahead of her - she deserves it. You can check out her blog at http://ourthingcalledlife.blogspot.com/ - please enjoy! :)

Now then - on to the book list at hand. :) I have knocked two books off my list since last reporting in - Audrey Niffeneger's The Time Traveller's Wife and Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates. See below for reviews.

1. Dead and Gone - Charlaine Harris
2. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
3. Reading Lolita in Tehran - Azar Nafisi
4. The Year of Living Biblically - A.J. Jacobs
5. A History of God - Karen Armstrong
6. Dreams from My Father - Barack Obama
7. Beloved - Toni Morrison
8. 'Tis - Frank McCourt
9. The Host - Stephenie Meyers
10. The Constant Princess - Phillipa Gregory
11. Wicked - Gregory Maguire
12. The Six Wives of Henry the 8th - Alison Weir
13. Eleanor of Aquitaine - Alison Weir
14. Tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom
15. The Fellowship of the Ring - J.R.R. Tolkien
16. The Two Towers - J.R.R. TOlkien
17. The Return of the King - J.R.R. Tolkien
18. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling
19. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling
20. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling
21. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling
22. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling
23. Dracula - Bram Stoker
24. Paradise Lost - John Milton
25. The Inferno - Dante
26. Towelhead - Alicia Erian
27. Sex, Lies, and Headlocks - Shaun Assael and Mike Mooneyham
28. The Way the Crow Flies - Ann-Marie MacDonald
29. The Robber Bride - Margaret Atwood
30. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
31. This United Church of Ours - Ralph Milton
32. Anansi Boys - Neil Gaiman
33. American Gods - Neil Gaiman
34. Stardust - Neil Gaiman
35. Tess of the d'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
36. The First Christmas - Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan
37. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
38. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
39. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
40. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
41. Deception Point - Dan Brown
42. Digital Fortress - Dan Brown
43. The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown
44. Lolita - Vladimir Nobokov
45. Atonement - Ian McEwan
46. All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren
47. Under the Dome - Stephen King
48. Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
49. The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
50. Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe
51. A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
52. Scarlett - Alexandra Ripley
53. White Noise - Don De Litto
54. Their Eyes were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston
55. Primary Colours - Anonymous
56. Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates
57. Ragtime - E.L. Doctorow
58. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark
59. Misquoting Jesus - Bart Ehrman
60. Fast Food Nation - Eric Schlasser
61. My Years as Prime Minister - Jean Chretien
62. Memoirs - Pierre Trudeau
63. Shake Hands with the Devil - Romeo d'Allaire
64. Team of Rivals - Doris Kearns Goodwin
65. The Secret Mulroney Tapes - Peter C. Newman
66. Why I Hate Canadians - Will Ferguson
67. Planet Simpson - Chris Turner
68. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
69. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe - Douglas Adams
70. Life, the Universe and Everything - Douglas Adams
71. So Long and Thanks for All the Fish - Douglas Adams
72. Mostly Harmless - Douglas Adams
73. Fifth Business - Robertson Davies
74. The Manticore - Robertson Davies
75. World of Wonders - Robertson Davies
76. The Donnellys - James Reaney
77. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
78. Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand
79. Farenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
80. Not Wanted on the Voyage - Timothy Findlay
81. A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
82. Coraline - Neil Gaiman
83. The Crucible - Arthur Miller
84. Mirror Mirror - Gregory Maguire
85. The Emerging Christian Way - Marcus Borg et al
86. Sorbonne Confidential - Laurel Zuckerman
87. What Happened to Anna K - Irina Reyn
88. The Silver Linings Playbook - Matthew Quick
89. Hey Nostradamus! - Douglas Coupland
90. Girlfriend in a Coma - Douglas Coupland
91. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
92. The 5 People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom
93. The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
94. Interview with the Vampire - Ann Rice
95. The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank
96. The Bonfire of the Vanities - Tom Wolfe
97. Guys and Dolls - Damon Runyon
98. Good Book - David Plotz
99. He's Just Not that Into You - Greg Behrendt, Liz Tuccillo, Lauren Monchik
100. Undisputed - Chris Jericho
101. Jesus for the Non-Religious - John Shelby Spong

I was intrigued by The Time Traveller's wife. I recognize it's solidly Chick Lit, so not everyone's cup of tea. But I found it readable and entertaining Chick Lit, my pages kept turning and with great frequency, and there were a few 1am nights due to my inability to put it down, so I suppose that speaks well of it! While some have complained that Niffeneggerl eft a few questions unanswered/had some inconsistencies/what have you in the time travelling concept usually so detailed and fleshed out in other sci fi/fantasy fare, I don't mind that; it allows us to focus on the core story, and quite frankly, if we're dealing with time-travel-as-genetic-illness, there would probably BE unanswered questions anyway. The emotional conflicts within that idea - that we are helpless to change time even if we see it and know it - and yet on the other hand perhaps we don't so strongly need to miss people as they can travel at times into the future and never really leave us ... it's interesting, and I enjoyed seeing Niffenegger grapple with that. She really conveys the trapped feeling of being a prisoner of time, as well as the freedom from having to make choices when life is written out for you.

As for Revolutionary Road - it is definitely an unpleasant read if you're looking for a love story. Be warned, there are no sympathetic characters here ... no one to root for ... this is a very cynical look at an unsympathetic dystopian suburb - and everyone, in one fashion or another, striving to keep up appearances (whether of the Suburban dream, or of the bohemian cynic stuck 'against their will' - or perhaps not so much - in Disturbia). I recommend it for the most part from an artistic standpoint, as a good read - but be warned there is nothing redeeming or fluffy about it ... it is human nature at its ugliest, and Yates makes no apologies, any more than his characters do.

Two very different books about two very different relationships - and yet the sense of being trapped, of drowning, remains. An interesting two books to read in a row, for sure. Hope to update you on another one or two I've completed soon. Thanks for reading along with me.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Senate Page Fired for Protest During Throne Speech

Check out the video below:



What do you think? Honestly, I'm still trying to wrap my head around an opinion. On the one hand, I would imagine this young woman, Brigitte dePape, and I would for the most part be of a political mind when it comes to stances on issues - I tend to be progressive in my end-goals, where I describe myself as a moderate comes more in my approach. And I definitely admire the tenacity of her convictions and her chutzpah, as Ari would call it.

At the same time, I am enough of a traditionalist, with respect for the parliament (moreso than our PM - let me tell you, hearing Conservatives today speaking of a contemptuous act toward Parliament kind of make me laugh) and for parliamentary tradition, that I'm given a little bit of pause at her methods. I don't know if I would go so far as to call this a security breech as some do - the woman worked in Parliament and came in with paper tucked into her skirt, she wasn't some uncleared attendee who set off a metal detector - and I'm not sure if I would consider it 'illegal' exactly. Uncivil, for sure - but is incivility sometimes justified?

Just not sure ... still thinkin' ... but definitely livened up what can be a bit of a long and droning speech, didn't it? :) We can at least thank Brigitte dePape for that.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

TheStar Liberals pass law to ease adoption of Crown wards

TheStar Liberals pass law to ease adoption of Crown wards

Sorry - I know I know I've been terribly absent. I was out of town at a conference, and then yesterday was my birthday ... and now it's late and I'm kind of draggy and tired. But I promise to be back to more regular posting now. I was for awhile a week or two ago, and it always sucks when stuff comes up just as you're getting into a rhythm and routine (although really good stuff - a fun conference I'll share more about in the next day or two, and my birthday was nice too).

Meanwhile though I did want to share the link above, considering the journey in our family here the last couple of years - this is great news, and definitely something to congratulate the McGuinty government on (I know, there hasn't been much, but ... the guy still has a good heart I think). Thanks for indulging me! :)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Victoria Day Weekend

Wishing you all a lovely long weekend. We're most of the way thru it and on our end it's been lovely. Despite starting on Friday with our son having an allergic reaction to a vaccine, and the news of the untimely death of wrestling legend (and one of my personal favourites) Randy 'Macho Man' Savage, I think our little family has since rallied, as Benadryl has worked its wonders, and we had a lovely day yesterday enjoying a travelling fair here in Ottawa, as well as the end of the Tulip Festival near Dow's Lake. We're a bit unsure of what we're going to turn today and tomorrow into, as it's supposed to be thunder-stormy at any time now, but there IS a WWE pay per view tonight I'm sure we'll end up watching, and we'll figure out a lovely way to spend tomorrow and wrap up our weekend ... perhaps Cosmic Adventures style? Although picturing the crowds ... hmmm ...

Perhaps the most amazing fact is that we're all still here, seeing as yesterday was supposed to be the Rapture and all according to Rev. Howard Camping and his Family Radio folks. After all the talk of destruction surrounding Judgement Day, it has been lovely to celebrate creation at church today as we planted a butterfly garden, to provide chemical free wildflowers for our local butterfly population. While the Sunday School, who was supposed to scatter the seeds, were only two in number with the long weekend, we still had fun joining the rest of the congregation outside for singing and blessing our new creation. May the butterflies enjoy it as much as we enjoyed setting it out for them.

Blessings on butterfly wings into the new week, everyone. Much love!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Response to the National Post Article about the United Church of Canada

If you CLICK HERE, you will find the United Church of Canada made the National Post's Religion page today. While normally I would ignore such articles, especially considering the source, I think there are a few important things to respond to here in regards to the church I grew up in, and the church that I love.

FIRST - THE SMALL PART I AGREE WITH
I do agree there's an unfortunate trend with some progressive Christians to avoid 'God/Jesus' language, and I think it's important we use it; not only does it explain our motivation for the work we do, but it also demonstrates there are multiple ways of being Christian - unfortunately being ashamed of Christianity only plays into the idea fundamentalism embraces that there is only one meaning to that name, and honestly, we do a disservice to Christ's ministry to not speak up for what we believe in - we own that title too! And I too will express disbelief in Gretta Vosper, a renowned Atheist, being a minister in a church who yes, still has in its creed that 'We believe in God, who has created and is creating ... we believe in Jesus, the Word made flesh'.

However ... I take issue with two major points in the NP article.

ONE - THE ONE ABOUT THE UNITED CHURCH BEING TOO 'OF THIS WORLD'
This is the most silly one. I think a bigger problem in churches today, more than dogma being too loose OR strict, or what have you, is a matter of relevance - people relating to it. And if taking your faith to the streets - living it, acting on it, 'walking the walk' as opposed to simply preaching and praying - isn't relevant, I don't know what is. Granted, we could probably do a better job of discussing what inspires us to be active in the realms of the environment and social justice, but it doesn't mean that we're on the wrong track in doing it. And ...

TWO - THE ONE ABOUT 'MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS'
Okay - granted I obviously don't completely disagree with this; truly buying into our creed of at believing in some creative force beyond ourselves, and Jesus as greatest example of living in right relationship with that force and its creation, I don't think is too much to ask if we're going to identify as a 'Christian Church' (and for the record I have no problem with those who don't - I'm married to a Jewish man, find much to respect in Islam, and embrace just about anything that brings peace and fulfilment - I guess I just think those who shy away from invoking Christ's name or even using the term God might feel more comfortable in a Unitarian setting or book club than a church, for their own sake moreso than a 'kick'em out' attitude). But beyond that, I don't care if 'God' to you is some old man in the sky, or some Jedi-like 'force', or if you believe Jesus is divine or simply an incredibly inspiring teacher whose message has survived 2000 years (a miracle in itself) - and again, I think this argument misses the point about relevance discussed above anyway. On that score, I think the UCC's grass roots campaign to be God's hands and feet in the world is on the right track.

UPDATE: Moderator Mardi Tindal's response to this article can be found on her Wondercafe blog by CLICKING HERE.