Saturday, December 31, 2011

No Cookies 2011

It seems I did not bake any cookies this year...
I think our trip to Bali got in the way of annual traditions.

Cookies of the Past


2007, a catch-up retrospective




Monday, August 01, 2011


I have been reading this blog for a long time. A man who consciously decided to give up his career in corporate law to become the homemaker so that his wife could pursue her dream job.

What amazes me every time I read a post is how he has chosen to actively engage in living and experiencing with his children.

He does not have a stroller, preferring to carry the kids or have them walk. He builds things to make their play come to life, he looks for activities that allow them all to learn about the city they live in and experience all that it has to offer. He teaches them the value of community by building relationships with their local retailers, beautifying their surrounding with flower bombs, and finding things to do where they live rather than in the town one over. They pick their own, buy from the farmer's market, or grow their food... and then make jam and preserves to last through the winter.

There is nothing unusual, special, or difficult about what he does. What is unusual is that he does it. Is this how men view the activity of stay-at-home-parent? Is this unique to this creative man?
What an amazing experience these children have in constantly exploring, learning, and taking on life as a family.

Case in point - asking a simple question about an empty lot, and suddenly there is a garden:
Sweet Juniper

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Maybe its time to redefine "privacy"

Unlike my dad, who yells at the TV, I have a public forum to vent about my frustrations at news reporters.

I heard a story on NPR about the new Facebook facial recognition software implementation. The reporters were talking about the infringement on privacy.
From what I can gather, those with privacy concerns are worried about Facebook having a database that associates names with faces.
And of course, whenever people get all up-in-arms about Facebook releasing new features, they lump in "and its opt-out too!!!"

This whole thing really confuses me.
Doesn't Google/Yahoo/Altavista already have access to your photo associated with your name via an algorithm that finds every photo you posted?
Isn't it more of a privacy issue that people are posting pictures of you, typing your name at the bottom, and you don't now about it?
At least if Facebook is automatically "tagging" you, you will get an email (if you elect to get emails for tagging - which I do) letting you know that your picture is out there.

This scenario was brought home to me this past week when an anti-Facebook friend of mine finally joined. I realized that his privacy had always been violated because I had photos of him on my page, with his name under them. By joining Facebook, I was able to "tag" him, and now he knows that there are photos of him.
Doesn't that mean that his privacy is secure?
Now he can ask me NOT to post or tag the picture... because he knows about it!

Opt-out... Facebook has a great "opt-out" feature whereby you can just delete your account!
Why do people believe that because something is popular, it needs to be controlled by mass opinion? Facebook is not a politician! its a business. If you don't like what they stand for, don't play!
If you want to be a part of your social network, then there are things you have to live with.
You have to accept that people are going to gossip about you behind your back, that people are going to introduce you to their friends, show other people their vacation photos and let them know that "see that woman there? that's my friend so-and-so".
Facebook gives you the same controls, restrictions, and lack of privacy that exist in society.
If you want to be a part of society, then you accept both the technological and non-technological constraints of membership.

Perhaps I am numb to the whole privacy thing because I don't live behind a veil where you don't know who I am.
I have an obvious car... if you know me, you know my car. You know where I am when you see it, if I cut you off, you will remember and notice me the next week I do it again.
I have a unique name.
I believe I am the only person in the world with this name.
If you Google me, you will know where I went to high school, college, work, the names of my publications, where I have presented papers, you probably can find where I live.
Because every hit you get on my name in any context is always going to be me.
Anything that I do that goes public in this world, you will know because there is only one person with my name.

So I wonder what it is about privacy that people are so adamant about trying to protect.

Friday, May 27, 2011

"I do wish you'd go away!" (my brother, aged 10)

"I do wish you'd go away" Robin shouted at Elizabeth. The was a sudden flash of rainbow coloured light. Robin stared in amazement. Elizabeth had disappeared. Robin ran to her mother, "Mother! she exclaimed. It's Elizabeth, she disappeared!" Mother began to laugh, "She's probably hidden under the bed". "No mother, I saw it with my own two eyes" said Robin. Robin's mother ran from the room. But after searching for an hour, she sigherd, "Ahhh, no sign of Elizabeth.
She phoned for help but the telephone was out. "The lines must be down from the rain. I think you will have to go to town with your Wellington boots and your raincoat." said mother. "Okay" said Robin. So she popped on her boots and coat and ran outside. She walked two miles and had one left. "What's that!" she pronounced. A whizzing noise came past and a UFO came flying past. It was shooting at a old shack. Then it, it landed about 2 feet away from Robin.
Robin jumped into some old wire. A ray came out the bottom and two thin, tall, shaggy haired hippies came out.
They collected their supper and sat down by a fire. Robin crept up to the U.F.O. jet and sneecked up the steps. In side she touched two electric coils. She was heard and the 2 men came in. She out her hand and said "zap". The electricity from the coils had gine inro her hand and into her mouth. The electricity shot from her hand and hit the spacemen. She ran She ran inside and saw Elizabeth. "Elizabeth" said Robin. Elizabeth was in a glass cage in the centre of the ship. "Help me" said Elizabeth. "I'm trying" said Robin". They are spies from planet Hepo. It is in the center of a galaxy 2000,000 miles away. I am their prisoner." said Elizabeth. "Gee," "I walked 2 miles and was pooped.”
Robin unstrapped the door of the glass cage and jumped out. They ran outside and Elizabeth tripped. "I've badly bruised my chin" she said. "I want to be home." They had ran a mile when Robin said, "Look there is a plane." The plane was landing and the two children aged 7 and 10 ran to what they thought was their rescue. The little earplane landed and the children jumped on. "To the little house on the hill," said Robin. And the plane ran up the hill to take off. The little plane landed and the children saw a town. "Where are we, we asked to go to the little house on the hill." "Is this Bornville"? said Robin the eldest. "Yes, it is said the man" and put gags on the children. "A kidnapper!" said Robin mumberling. The man had axiderdenterly left a gun in his jacket pocket and Robin pulled it out. "Hands up"! she said. The man put up his hands and left the controls. The plane went down to a crash. "Shoom"! it bloo up. The next day Robin, Elizabeth and the kidnapper were in hospital. The man was in a koma but the two girls were okay. "He was such a nice man", said Elizabeth who had failed Grade Two the year before. "Don't be dum", said Robin now in standerd 3. Their mother came and took them home. Nobody knows what happened.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Kinetic Sprint Relay

Pretty proud of myself, so figure I'll put a post up.

Did the bike leg of the sprint relay at Kinetic today - 18 miles.
Austin did the swim, and Jordan the run.

I was expecting to take 1:30mins, did it in 1:05. The official results may have me longer as the mat was a bit away from the mount/dismount.

The day before, I drove the course with my friend Patty to see where the downhills were, and if there were any really tough uphills. It all looked pretty do'able given what I have ridden so far (since Aug last year).

This is my first race on a bike, so I had no idea what to expect about how my adrenaline would affect my actions. Since the start was on an uphill, I asked Patty if she'd help me practice that too. We did a couple starts, so I knew my bike was in the right gear starting, and I knew I could do it.
Race day - I got a little sidetracked by my watch, but once that was sorted out, I mounted and took off with no hesitation. On the course, I was empowered by my knowledge of the ups, downs, and turns. I started to have fun after the first couple miles (usually it takes about 10!), and was making comments and chatting with the people I was leapfrogging.

I am very grateful to all the people who have helped me get over fears, passed on tricks, and supported me in doing something I've never done before!

I have also been thinking that I am supported by a higher power! Sat was drizzly and foggy with wet roads, Sat night had POURING rain! Sunday was a misty morning, but by race start - sun. Roads were dry, afternoon was warm (I think I have my number sunburned on my arm), and as soon as I was done unpacking the car after I got home - POURING rain.
I am so thankful that the day was so perfect for my first race.

Those are my first thoughts unshowered (lightening), sunburned, dehydrated, and tired!

Monday, March 07, 2011

Max's Appetite

My cat was diagnosed with lymphoma last year, and since I had just received a bonus, decided that his life was worth the money. He went through chemo, and is officially in remission. I only tell that heavy part of the story to describe the cause of his strange eating habits.
He lost a lot of weight, because he became a fussy eater, and no longer wanted to eat cat food. I tried different dry foods, different wet foods, nothing would tempt him.
But he was hungry.
I know, because all he wanted to eat was food off of my plate. While I was eating it.
If I put some of my food on a plate for him, suddenly, it had no flavor... but the other piece on my plate? that was tempting!
Max has eaten crackers, cookies, cream cheese, Indian food, Mexican food - taco soup off the spoon as it made its way to my mouth, pizza crust, he ran off with a bone from a chop, and he has run off with a bread roll.
The other day, I did an experiment. I put his dry cat food on my plate, and took piece by piece and put it on the table for him. He JUMPED on every single piece and ate it as if he'd never seen food before.
He has a bowl of the same stuff full for him at all times.
Strange cat!