Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Technically speaking...

I am pretty sure I know the culprit. I won't name names because there were no witnesses.

I have told the kids that they cannot pick candies off of the gingerbread house until New Year's Day when it gets smashed and devoured (this rule is made considerably more difficult to enforce by their father, who somehow feels that rules of this sort do not apply to him).

Aside from a couple of lapses, this dictate has been honoured. Then today, I saw this:

I am not sure if you can see in the picture, but there are clear teeth marks in the giant gumdrop. SOMEONE has taken the word of law literally and has NOT picked the candy off the house. Instead, they have EATEN the candy while it is still ON the house.

Well played.

Note to self: next year, clearer rules.

Friday, December 25, 2009

E- 35 reasons to celebrate

On Tuesday Lester turned 35....which doesn't sound really old to me
anymore ( I seem to have finally adjusted to the fact that I am in my
thirties) but does sometimes feel shocking when I think back to
celebrating her 17th birthday together. Back in 1991 her parents took
us to The Prow at Canada Place, perhaps not yet realizing that this
dud of a boyfriend didn't eat seafood. I can only imagine the awkward
small talk and level of discomfort I had at that dinner, just a couple
of months after we started going out.

This year we decided to stay in and Les' family joined us in Point
Roberts for dinner. We had prime rib, Yorkshire puddings and veggies,
which were no match for the Prow or Hy's, but turned out pretty well
for my first try. On the 24th I had to work so I was late to join
the party at my sister's house. We were once again stuffed full of
good food, this time Turkey. By the time the kids finally got to bed
at midnight, they were so tired that they all fell right asleep
together without any pandemonium errupting over Santa's imminent

E- School's out....let Christmas begin

Molly and Fin's school had their concert again on Friday which is
pretty cute but also slightly painful.... even to tine deaf people
like myself.....mostly cute though. The next day we had the Xmas party
that I helped to organize from our firefighters union. We bought more
than one hundred presents for Santa to give out and food for double
that number. With the rink rented and the gymnastics studio to
ourselves there was no shortage of entertainment. In the evening we
decorated Gingerbread houses at Margo's and had some pizza and beer.

Friday, December 18, 2009

E- Embarrassed to be a Canadian

As a Canadian I have almost always felt lucky for, and proud of, my nationality. There were lots of times in Europe when I really felt privileged to be from north of the 49th parallel and to be able to talk with pride about the limited, but generally very positive role
Canada plays in world politics. However, I find myself at this very important moment in time, when global cooperation has never been more necessary, embarrassed to be a Canadian.

I do not consider myself a hardcore environmentalist by any stretch of the imagination. I know I am as guilty a carbon polluter as most, although I do try to make choices that limit my carbon footprint when they don't inconvenience me too much. I don't get too worked up about my own behaviour because I know that a global treaty is the only chance we have to make a difference. I am also aware that science
isn't even totally clear about what will be the consequences of our CO2 emissions.... and won't be clear until it's far too late to make the necessary changes.

However, I feel really strongly that we don't need 100% irrefutable proof (which will never exist anyways) before humanity commits to changing our carbon based economy. To me it boils down to common sense. Everything in this world requires balance to be sustainable in the long term. We don't need scientists to tell us that what we are doing to our atmosphere, the minuscule layer of air that is responsible for sustaining almost all of life on earth, is out of balance. Basic common sense can tell us that there will be huge human induced changes if we continue to pump more and more CO2 into the atmosphere. It's also plain to see how difficult it will be for most
plants and animals to adjust to a change brought on so rapidly.

But what about the costs? Who knows how much it will really take for us to make the changes? I have heard many credible economists and scientists estimate that it would cost 2-3% of world GDP for a few years to totally wean ourselves from fossil fuels. Even if it cost us 2 or 3 or even 10 times more than that, wouldn't it be worth it just in case the Domesday scenarios are true? I mean, if we do get to that 3 degree plus increase in global average temperature that starts an irreversible warming cycle, what good is any of our wealth anyways? Since this planet is responsible for 100% of our wealth, doesn't it make sense for us to use as much of that wealth as is necessary to protect earth from a realistically severe threat? Of course it does! The fact that the fix can be done for so cheap is a big bonus. We don't need to go back to stone age or basic subsistence living to help save the planet, we just need to acknowledge that the time for burning fossil fuels has come and gone and now we need to spend the money to make a new energy infrastructure.

The funny thing is that changing our economy away from fossil fuels would probably have exactly the type of stimulatory effect the global economy needs now. Instead of money pouring into corrupt Gulf states (the US and Europe export thousands of dollars per person on energy each year), those dollars could go to local companies researching and producing cutting edge clean energy products. Millions of people would all of a
sudden have a good reason go buy a new car when a pollution free, quiet, low maintenance electric vehicle becomes available. Homeowners will be lined up to retrofit their places when they can affordability chop their energy bill by installing geothermal or solar energy. There are so many benefits to these changes that I really think they
will far outweigh the costs in the long run. However, when we pay nothing to emit CO2 despite its huge cost to the environment, and the infrastructure of the fossil fuel economy has more than a one hundred year head start on alternatives, massive government action is required to level the playing field. Which brings me back to my original embarrassed I am by our government's action both over the last couple of years and especially now with the Copenhagen conference.

I am not really surprised that a government that chose Rona Ambrose as our environment minister (who pretty much denied that climate change even existed before being laughed out of office) should be less than totally committed to the international efforts to get a treaty in CO2 pollution. However the reports I keep hearing of Canadian representatives doing their bit to block progress of the talks and fight against further cuts to carbon emissions makes me hate what these people are doing in the name if our country. I know we have allowed the oil sands to develop to such an extent that the whole Canadian economy now probably benefits from this money.....but doing the wrong thing out of self interest is not what Canada is all about....certainly not when the stakes are this high

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

E-Camera Down, iPhone pictures only

Luc celebrated his birthday with lots of cakes and toy
he was happy. Then again he almost always is. Luc is pretty easy to
please for a three year old boy- low maintenance all around. He loves
to laugh and play and doesn't get worked up about much. However, he
will not stand for wet clothes even if it just a drop on his shirt. It
doesn't really fit with his personality but I guess we all have our
quirks, and Luc's happens to be hydrophobia.

December seems to fly by with between work and socializing. We have
already had work parties for both Les and me, with a couple of more to
come. We saw White Christmas at the Stanley, which I wasn't a huge fan
of and had skating parties for the school and at the Arbutus Club. We
also took in the Santa Claus parade, cookie decorating at my sister's
and HSBC basketball finals. A great dinner out with friends from high
school and a goodbye dinner for friends from the kids school have made
for a busy couple of weeks.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Straight from Summer to Winter

Most days on our trip felt like the height of summer and it's a bit if
a shock to come back to winter. Rather than complain though, we have
embraced it by getting into the season. We took the girls for their
first skate of the season and Lucas for the first one of his life. Pat
Hall took the girls a couple of days later to Robson square where they
found out how much more difficult it is to skate on really rough and
crowded ice.

The Christmas blitz has started too. We now have five advent calenders
hanging in our hall and this gingerbread house we made this afternoon.