Monday, June 30, 2008

peony


This is a photo of one of my peonies taken ten days ago. But after the hot spell we're having, they're now pretty well finished. I am excited to have a peony of my own again - and sad that it's already done. I blogged about peonies in 2005. Here is my partial post from then.

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We do have a history, peonies and I. I had them in rose bowls as centerpieces for my wedding (and what a tense time that was – the spring of 1981, when we’d planned on peonies but the season was early).

Here are a few peony bits:

From my flower bible: The Flower Expert by D. G. Hessayon:

Paeonies are the aristocrats of the herbaceous perennial world. The flower stalks rise up above the attractive foliage and each one bears several blooms – blooms which make most other garden flower blush with shame.... (would you say he likes them?)

Regard paeonies as a long-term investment and learn the rules before you start planting. Choose an open, sunny spot but try to avoid a situation where early morning sun will shine on the plants. Early autumn is the best time for planting and the soil should be deeply dug and enriched with compost or leaf mould. Set the crown of the plant no lower than 1 inch below the soil surface. The main thing you then have to remember is to leave the plant alone – it may not flower in the first season and may not be properly established for three years..."


And from Lois Hole’s Perennial Favorites:

Don’t plant peonies near trees where they will have intense competition for nutrients and moisture. Also avoid low spots, where puddles form after a rainfall. Peonies will rot in wet soil.

Never add manure to the planting hole, as this results in weak, spindly growth.

Blooms cut at the loose bud stage will open and last twice as long as those cut when they are fully open. The best time to cut peony flowers is in the morning. They last about two weeks in a vase.


Peony petals retain their fragrance for a long time and thus make a good addition to potpourri.

They also dry well and can be added to arrangements of other dried everlastings.

Two of my favorite poets have written about peonies. This one is by Mary Oliver:

Peonies

This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

and they open-
pools of lace,
white and pink -
and all day the black ants climb over them...

Read the rest


and here is Jane Kenyon's (from her book Constance)

Peonies at Dusk

White peonies blooming along the porch
send out light
while the rest of the yard grows dim.

Outrageous flowers as big as human
heads! They're staggered
by their own luxuriance: I had
to prop them up with stakes and twine...

Read the rest

Saturday, June 28, 2008

is the internet messing with your head?


Do you think and read differently since you've entered the era of internet grazing? Nicholas Carr (The Atlantic Monthly) is wondering what's happening to his brain:

Over the past few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind isn’t going—so far as I can tell—but it’s changing. I’m not thinking the way I used to think. I can feel it most strongly when I’m reading. Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy. My mind would get caught up in the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I’d spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That’s rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.

As the media theorist Marshall McLuhan pointed out in the 1960s, media are not just passive channels of information. They supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought.

A pathologist who has long been on the faculty of the University of Michigan Medical School, Friedman elaborated on his comment in a telephone conversation with me. His thinking, he said, has taken on a “staccato” quality, reflecting the way he quickly scans short passages of text from many sources online. “I can’t read War and Peace anymore,” he admitted. “I’ve lost the ability to do that. Even a blog post of more than three or four paragraphs is too much to absorb. I skim it.”

But a recently published study of online research habits, conducted by scholars from University College London, suggests that we may well be in the midst of a sea change in the way we read and think.

Read the rest of "Is Google Making Us Stupid?"

And regarding an item about Kindle and the end of books and that I blogged about a bit ago, a writer on Slate begs to differ.

We'll do more and more reading on screens, but they won't replace paper—never mind what your friend with a Kindle tells you. Rather, paper seems to be the new Prozac. A balm for the distracted mind. It's contained, offline, tactile. William Powers writes about this elegantly in his essay "Hamlet's BlackBerry: Why Paper Is Eternal." He describes the white stuff as "a still point, an anchor for the consciousness."

Read the rest of "Lazy Eyes - How We Read Online"

What about you? Can you still wade through dense writing on paper? Do you have the patience? Or do books actually calm you down?

Personally, if books really do have a Prozac-like effect, that may be just the reason I need to resist getting a laptop. Now when I'm away from the computer, I'm away. For the foreseeable I should probably resign myself to keeping it like that - to preserve brain normalcy if nothing else.

Friday, June 27, 2008

book review: The Forbidden by Beverly Lewis


Title: The Forbidden
Author: Beverly Lewis
Publisher: Bethany House, May 2008, paperback, 352 pages
Genre: Historical fiction, Romance
ISBN-10:
0764203118
ISBN-13: 978-0764203114

In The Forbidden, Book 2 of The Courtship of Nellie Fisher series, author Beverly Lewis picks up the story of Nellie Mae Fisher and Caleb Yoder a little over six months from the dreadful day Nellie’s sister Suzy drowned.

During the month and a half of the winter of 1967 that the story encompasses, we follow Caleb and Nellie as they seek to make sense of Caleb’s father’s demand that they part company. We also watch as Nellie’s older sister Rhoda edges ever closer to breaking with her Amish family, enter into Roseanne’s dismay as Kate, the birth mother of her adopted twins, begins to act more and more possessive of them, and get a glimpse into how Suzy’s non-Amish friends are coping with her death. Overshadowing all these things is the seemingly unavoidable church split that threatens to tear Honeybrook apart.

As is typical of Beverly Lewis’s books, her characters drive the action. Despite scenes of Amish life as idyllic as illustrations in an old-fashioned book, there’s a lot going on under the surface. Nellie is a talented, confident, and determined young woman and entrepreneur who knows her mind. However, she’s also every bit an Amishwoman who respects tradition and realizes, given how important Caleb’s inheritance is to him, that the fate of their love may lie with Caleb’s intractable father. Caleb is determined too, as well as obedient, respectful, red-blooded and smitten – a combination that leads to more than one complication.

Lewis plumbs some psychologically sophisticated depths through secondary characters as well. We get an understanding through Rhoda of how the pressures of ‘fancy’ society tug at these plain young people. Through Nellie’s barren friend Roseanne we experience the overwhelming instincts and emotions of motherhood. Susannah Lapp shows herself to be a diva of manipulation. And Caleb’s father is Mr. Control.

Lewis’s writing is, as always, simple and accessible. She sprinkles her narrative with enough Amish-isms to give us the sense we’re hearing her characters speak in their Amish dialect. Within many a chapter she goes from character to character, moving the story ahead by shifting the action from place to place. This gives a sense of things happening simultaneously and helps the story build.

Lewis uses the impending split between the Old Order, New Order and Beachy Amish (an actual event that happened amongst the Pennsylvania Amish in the 1960s) to explore how disagreements in belief can impact relationships. Parents, children, lovers and friends are all impacted. Lewis delves into some of those contentious beliefs and shows the positive difference a relationship with Jesus Christ, personal prayer and reading the Bible for oneself can make.

All in all, this is another satisfying Beverly Lewis read. Not to worry if you haven’t read The Parting – the first book in the series. Lewis begins The Forbidden with a prologue that brings readers up-to-date with the story so far. She ends by setting the stage for more complications and it’s impossible to predict how the series will end. The final book in The Courtship of Nellie Fisher is scheduled to be released in September, 2008.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

stone


White Rock Inuksuit*

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Thursday Challenge

Next Week: PHOTOGRAPHY (Lens, Tripods, Cameras, Photographers, Photographs, Computers,...)

* The mysterious stone figures known as inuksuit can be found throughout the circumpolar world. Inukshuk, the singular of inuksuit, means "in the likeness of a human" in the Inuit language. They are monuments made of unworked stones that are used by the Inuit for communication and survival. The traditional meaning of the inukshuk is "Someone was here" or "You are on the right path." - Inukshuk Gallery

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

redeeming a bombed afternoon

My ventriloquist friend Maralee signed me up to take an Apple class with her in Vancouver yesterday. I took her word for it that it had something to do with i-photo (though I should have known to check it out online - she's new to Apple). It ended up being a seminar introducing Final Cut Server ("Meet Final Cut Server, media asset management and workflow automation software designed for the unique needs of film and video professionals." All for a meager $2000.) Thankfully the seminar was free!

It didn't take us long to realize we were well out of our depth.

So at the break we left the world of assets, proxies, metadata, productions and jobs. Before heading for home we drove around Stanley Park, and stopped at the Prospect Point Restaurant where we had ice-cream, then walked down to the lookout. That's one ok way to redeem a bombed afternoon.



Saturday, June 21, 2008

lovely iris

I have come across many irises in my travels lately. Here are a few I've collected this year and in past springs. I have no idea what any of them are called but I do know where each one lives/lived.

I found this beauty in White Rock (in 2006).


These bonneted ladies lived on the grounds of Brookhaven Care Center, in Westbank (last year's crop).


This delicate beauty lived along the sea wall in West Vancouver earlier this spring.


Clumps of water irises bloomed in the creek along the walk northeast of our townhouse complex a few weeks ago this spring.



I see these cream and wine irises every day along our walk. (For some reason this picture reminds me of Christmas.)


These blue beauties lived in my yard for two short weeks this spring. They're now finished *sigh*.


a little iris trivia:

The iris is an ancient plant, rich in lore and sometimes used as a medicinal remedy. Some were used as purgatives (but discovered unsafe). North American Indians used blue flag irises as poultices for swelling, sores and burns.

Several iris varieties are used to make orris root -- the fixative for potpourri (Iris germanica, florentina and pallida). After the rhizomes have matured for several years, dig them up, peel and chop when still soft. After two years of drying, the scent is strongest.

Add essential oil to orris root and toss with other potpourri material to make a most fragrant 'salad.'

Friday, June 20, 2008

frivolous friday - vacation 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

HRCs and the new canadian fascism

The following is fallout over a letter a Rev. Boissoin wrote to the editor of the Red Deer Advocate in 2002, in which he denounced homosexuality. A local teacher, Darren Lund, not a gay man btw, complained to the Albert Human Rights Commission. Several weeks ago the Alberta HRC ruled on the case.


Lori Andreachuk, the human rights commissioner who issued the order, started off by acknowledging that “there is no specific individual who can be compensated as there is no direct victim who has come forward.”

But since the complainant "did expend considerable time and energy and suffered ridicule and harassment as a result of his complaint" she ordered Boisson to pay him $5000.

[...]Her order continued: “Mr. Boissoin … shall cease publishing in newspapers, by email, on the radio, in public speeches, or on the Internet, in future, disparaging remarks about gays and homosexuals.”

Boissoin can never communicate anything “disparaging” about gays again. It’s a lifetime ban — and it applies to every conceivable medium, including his private e-mails and public sermons.

Nothing “disparaging” means nothing critical. She didn’t order him not to communicate anything “illegal” or even anything “hateful.” She ordered him to say nothing disparaging. For the rest of his life.


Read the whole article: Ezra Levant on the human-rights show trial of Christian pastor Stephen Boissoin.

Complainant Darren Lund's take on the hrc's ruling:
"The spirit of [the remedy] seems to me completely in line with what I was requesting,"


Lund's past muddled thinking on respecting religious views.

**************

From a June 2/08 editorial in the Catholic Insight:

Fascism has come to Canada

The January 2008 article, “Civil rights war in Canada” (pp. 11-16), quoted from REAL Women’s magazine Reality (Mar/April 2007) in saying that “adoptions, social services such as nursing homes, religious-based schools, marriages, employment conduct, etc., carried out by religious organizations will be held to secular standards, not religious ones.” One reason for this development, it was pointed out, is the demand of homosexual activists that everyone conform to their vision of equality rights. So much for the argument that legalizing same-sex “marriage” (SSM) would be of no concern except to homosexual activists.

In September 2008, the Department of Education in British Columbia intends to introduce the mandatory teaching of SSM from Kindergarten to Grade 12 in provincial schools. It is a first for a province in Canada to claim the right to determine moral teaching in schools when the vast majority of its citizens reject it as unscientific and contrary to the common good. So we move from Trudeau’s 1967 slogan “there is no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation” – falsely used to destroy traditional morality – to the new slogan that the state will determine people’s moral thinking.


Read entire.


*****************

and the plot thickens:

"Human Rights Commissions to review how to best police 'hate' on the internet..."


I don't recognize this Canada. And yet I do. Given the Canadian social climate, the left-wing media and the timidity, apathy, lack of leadership and general limp-wristedness of Christians, these developments are entirely predictable -- and were predicted. We should not be surprised.

patterned


Snake head Fritillaria

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Thursday Challenge

Next Week: ROCKS (Pebbles, Stones, Boulders, Mountains, Stone Buildings, Concrete, Jewels,...)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

criticism?


Jesus says regarding judging -- Don't. The average Christian is the most penetratingly critical individual. Criticism is a part of the ordinary faculty of man; but in the spiritual domain nothing is accomplished by criticism. The effect of criticism is a dividing up of the powers of the one criticized; the Holy Ghost is the only One in the true position to criticize, He alone is able to show what is wrong without hurting and wounding .... Jesus says, as a disciple, cultivate the uncritical temper. It is not done once and for all. Beware of anything that puts you in the superior person's place.

....The first thing God does is to give us a spiritual spring-cleaning; there is no possibility of pride left in a man after that. I have never met the man I could despair of after discerning what lies in me apart from the grace of God.


- Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

book review: Navigating for Success by Moss A. Jackson


Title: Navigating for Success: Passion,Goals & Action
Author: Moss A. Jackson, Ph.D.
Publisher: Corporate Initiatives, 2007, paperback, 145 pages
Genre: Psychology, Business
ISBN-10:
0615180450
ISBN-13: 978-0615180458



Are you a Victim, Survivor or Navigator? Does your Gorilla, Alligator or Computer sail your ship? On the map of communication from War to Partnership, at what destination do you usually find yourself? Moss A. Jackson’s book Navigating For Success: Passion, Goals & Actions will help you answer these questions and many more.

This 145-page, 21-chapter success textbook-cum-workbook is divided into seven sections with titles that continue the navigational theme introduced by the title (e.g. "Steering Your Course," "Riding Your Inner Wave," etc.). They deal with subjects like the three main ways people approach their lives, how to establish goals and make plans to reach them, the part emotions play in success, managing conflict, and team building, anong others. The overriding theme of the book is that each person can choose success, then plan and act to make it happen.

The teaching part of each chapter is followed by Compass Points, a section which provides practical ways –- in a variety of formats from lists to self-quizzes -– to help the reader apply newly learned principles to his real-life situations.

Jackson’s training as a clinical and organizational psychologist along with his 30 years’ experience as a psychologist and business consultant gives the book authority. The way he illustrates his points with stories from his practice makes the book interesting.

Jackson’s brisk writing style is enhanced by the book’s organization - subheadings in bold font followed by block paragraphs separated with plenty of white space. It’s a shame the editing wasn’t consistent (in the 2007 version of the book reviewed), with some typos, inconsistent capitalization, and several places where the voice changed from first person plural to second person mid-paragraph (e.g., “When we’re unhappy with a situation, we often find ourselves complaining…. Likewise, when those around you are discontented, they often grumble and gripe.”).

Jackson’s tone goes from matter-of-fact as he describes the sorry status quo of clients and companies, to encouraging, motivational, even inspirational as he poses his success-targeted solutions. His use of metaphors to describe types of people and behaviors is notable, sometimes amusing and makes his ideas easy to remember. The quizzes, lists and self-tests pull the reader in from being a bystander to a participant.

There’s something in this book for every business type from the go-fer on the sales floor to the CEO. Though it speaks mainly to business situations, the principles are transferable to personal life as well. From the wise sayings of famous people that follow the title of each chapter to the practical advice offered cover-to-cover by Jackson, there’s lots of valuable take-away for everyone. If you want to learn how to steer the course of your life as opposed to letting the waves of circumstance, past experience, and emotion determine your destination, Moss A. Jackson’s Navigating For Success is for you.

Monday, June 16, 2008

this dad/grandpa had a happy day!




Sunday, June 15, 2008

father's day

I have been fatherless for many years now -- though I do still have a wonderful father-in-law. My dad died from complications of bone cancer in 1975. He was just a little bit older then than I am now. (That's a sobering thought.)

Dad was a very quiet man. He wouldn't be badgered into giving us our way. But never for one instant did I doubt he loved me, though I don't remember him saying the words until during his last illness. The way he was an anchor in my childhood comes through in this piece I wrote some years ago.

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LOVE'S SCRATCH 'N' SNIFF

Scratch 'n' sniff yellow
aroma of angel food and jelly roll
when you wake up
Saturday-morning-warm.
Hurry down to claim bowl and beaters
dripping with batter to lick.

Scratch 'n' sniff white
perfume of just-washed frozen
diapers softening beside the heater.
Laundry makes Mom tired. "Read!" you call
as she dozes off again, mid-story at nap time.

Scratch 'n' sniff green
storm-scrubbed morning air.
All night you lay watchful, sprawled on pull-out
living-room couches with brothers and sisters
and pinched eyes shut against
lightning that took flash after flash
picture through the window
to thunder's applause.

Scratch 'n' sniff charcoal
diesel fumes, body odor
of the pulsing Massey 55.
You’re standing beside it asking
"Daddy, what do you mean, 'We'll see'?"

********************


Here is a photo with my handsome daddy taken after the birth of our second set of twins. I am the oldest and there were six of us before I turned four. (With three more after that, you could say he had a full quiver. And no wonder my mom fell asleep when reading us stories!)

Friday, June 13, 2008

frovolous friday - insults with class

A member of Parliament to Disraeli: "Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease."

"That depends, Sir," said Disraeli, "on whether I embrace your policies or your mistress."


"He had delusions of adequacy." - Walter Kerr


"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire."- Winston Churchill


"A modest little person, with much to be modest about." - Winston Churchill


"I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure." - Clarence Darrow


"He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary." - William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway)

"Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?" - Ernest Hemingway (about William Faulkner)


"He has never written a phrase that did NOT send a reader to the dictionary''.- (Unknown about Conrad Black).


"He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know." - Abraham Lincoln


"I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it." - Mark Twain


"He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends." - Oscar Wilde


"I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend .. if you have one." - George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

"Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second -- if there is one." - Winston Churchill, in response.


"I feel so miserable without you; it's almost like having you here." - Stephen Bishop


"He is a self-made man and worships his creator." - John Bright


"I've just learned about his illness. Let's hope it's nothing trivial." - Irvin S. Cobb"


He is not only dull himself, he is the cause of dullness in others." - Samuel Johnson


"He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up." – Paul Keatin


"He has the attention span of a lightning bolt." – Robert Redford


"In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily." - Charles, Count Talleyrand


"He loves nature in spite of what it did to him." – Forrest Tucker


"Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?" - Mark Twain


"His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork." - Mae West


"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go." - Oscar Wilde


"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it." - Groucho Marx

Thursday, June 12, 2008

yes!


I got some happy news today. My friend who attended The Word Guild Awards Gala in Toronto last night phoned this morning and told me I'd won the award in the category Article for Children / Teens category. WOO HOO!!

The list of all winners should be on The Word Guild website shortly - after the weekend and the Write! Canada conference is over.

bright


The brightest thing around this rainy spring

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Thursday Challenge

Next Week: PATTERNED (Striped, Checkered, Polka Dotted, Leopard, Waves, Mosaic, Swirls,...)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

the end of books?

Do you think we're coming to the end of the book era? Paul Krugman, writing in the NY Times thinks we might be.

...According to a report in The Times, the buzz at this year’s BookExpo America was all about electronic books. Now, e-books have been the coming, but somehow not yet arrived, thing for a very long time.... But we may finally have reached the point at which e-books are about to become a widely used alternative to paper and ink.

That’s certainly my impression after a couple of months’ experience with the device feeding the buzz, the Amazon Kindle. Basically, the Kindle’s lightness and reflective display mean that it offers a reading experience almost comparable to that of reading a traditional book. This leaves the user free to appreciate the convenience factor: the Kindle can store the text of many books, and when you order a new book, it’s literally in your hands within a couple of minutes.

It’s a good enough package that my guess is that digital readers will soon become common, perhaps even the usual way we read books.

Read the rest (you may have to sign up for a free NY Times account to access the article)

And what's this Kindle thing all about? Check it out here.

Monday, June 09, 2008

tenting with Canada's first lady


Julie Smyth of the National Post writes:

Gaining access to the inner sanctum of the Prime Minister's residence takes persistence, impeccable connections, or, in my case, extreme klutziness in the pursuit of a noble goal.

That is how I ended up in the family kitchen of 24 Sussex this week after running into a pole during a training walk for a charitable fundraiser with Laureen Harper, who kindly rushed me inside to tend to my (self-inflicted) wounds.

We hurried past the Prime Minister -- only just back from a state visit to Europe and catching up with daughter Rachel over dinner -- to get ice to apply to the expanding goose egg at the side of my eye.

As Mrs. Harper and I raced back outside to catch the RCMP van that would take us to the rest of our walking team, young Rachel asked her Dad, "How do you run into a pole?"

Read the rest of "Pitching a tent with Mrs. Harper" - an article that shows the endearingly human side of Canada's first lady, Laureen Harper.

Here's another piece on the Alberta farmgirl whose address is 24 Sussex Drive.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

hrc free speech sideshow in vancouver

This week Andrew Coyne has been liveblogging the proceedings at the B. C. Human Rights Commission in Vancouver, where his employer, Macleans Magazine, is before the HRC beaucrats to answer Naiyer Habib's complaints about "The Future Belongs to Islam," an article by Mark Steyn published in Macleans, October 20, 2006. Naiyer Habib is the BC board director for the Canadian Islamic Congress, and filed the complaint on behalf of all Muslims in British Columbia.

In an interview with National Review Coyne says:

My hope is that it will go to appeal — in other words, I’m hoping that we lose this at the hearing level and that we appeal it to a proper court of law, as opposed to these quasi-judicial tribunals, and at that proper court of law that we make the constitutional argument that this is an infringement of our charter rights to freedom of the press. I believe that’s what we’ll do if we lose the case.


Other observations by Coyne:

...they have mystifying rules of evidence, if any. They make it up as they go along as to what gets allowed into evidence and what doesn’t. And I’m sure they’re not used to having such scrutiny, with many high-powered lawyers in the room. It’s pretty much a travesty.


For more buzz in blogland about this, see Free Mark Steyn!

After browsing a few links from FMS, my only comment would be that by challenging Canada's tradition of free speech in this HRC way, Muslims have done themselves way more harm in the Canadian public than an article like Steyn's would do in a dozen years.

(Dr. Mohamed Elmasry writes, on the CIC website about "Smart Integration." I've guess they've just given themselves a lesson in how NOT to do it.)

promote your book

Book Launch 2.0



Hat Tip: Carolyn

Friday, June 06, 2008

oops - my roots are showing

(I didn't write this, but got it in an email. It made me chuckle, seeing I grew up Mennonite and all)

Canada and a Mennonite Nation
-- Now that the Quebec nation is recognized within a united Canada, there is growing demand for a Mennonite nation within Canada.

In light of the recent parliamentary motion regarding the nationhood of the Quebecois, many feel that the Mennonites should also be recognized as a distinct nation within Canada. Once recognition from Parliament has been achieved, the Mennonite nation should then proceed to exercise its right to land claims in the Fraser Valley, southern Alberta, southern Saskatchewan, southern Manitoba and select portions of southern Ontario.

A sovereign nation should then be declared, with provincial capitals located in Yarrow, La Glace, Rosthern, Niverville and Waterloo (Abbotsford and Winkler can fight it out for federal capital) and Low German functioning as the second official language. A fully operational social safety net will be set up, including food banks and soup kitchens serving up borscht and pluma moos three times a day for the less fortunate - then put the bums to work picking hops.

It is to be anticipated that a big argument will break out. Already people are asking - who is a Mennonite?

Friesens and Dycks who go to a Mennonite church are in for sure. But what about a Peters who goes to an Alliance church? Will a Johnson who goes to a Mennonite church disguised as a "community church" qualify? Will culinary Mennonites who simply say they enjoy borscht get citizenship? Before you know it everyone buys sausage at Rempels or shops for groceries at Funks will claim they are Mennonites. It is even conceivable that anyone who ever went to an MCC sale might claim they are Mennonites. Then there will be more Mennonites than non-Mennonites and Mennonites could lose minorty status.

You think that the pacifist Mennonites will take all this lying down? The Quebecois question is easy compared to the Mennonite one. No?

Maybe turn it over to a committee of GC's and MB's to write a clarity act? Good luck!


(Thanks Marilyn S.)

Thursday, June 05, 2008

fun



Play Quilt - made by Grandma

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Thursday Challenge

Next Week: BRIGHT (Lights, Colors, Sun, Windows, Reflections, Happy, Sparkling, Glistening,...)

"the earth is satisfied"

"He waters the mountains from his upper chambers;
the earth is satisfied by the fruit of his work.


He makes grass grow for the cattle,
and plants for man to cultivate—



bringing forth food from the earth:
wine that gladdens the heart of man,
oil to make his face shine,
and bread that sustains his heart.

The trees of the LORD are well watered,
the cedars of Lebanon that he planted."

Psalm 104:13-16



Scenes from a Saturday afternoon in West Vancouver - Saturday May 31

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

annual rite of spring - fritter away some hours watching the eagles


The Hancock Wildlife Foundation (the organization that brought us the Hornby Island eagle cam several years ago) has put up an eagle cam in Delta (BC) this year.

A few days ago the mother eagle brought the eaglets a teddy bear. I just checked the cam, and there is the black bear, right beside the little gray eaglets. This morning they seem more interested in each other than their toy, though.

Log on in non-peak hours for best viewing. Last night traffic on the site was so heavy, the page wouldn't even load.

Delta eagle cam

A variety of cams, from herons to African cats, is available from the wavelit home page. Click on the "Live Feeds" tab.

a $ tip for non-ficton writers

Several months ago I took my courage in hand and joined a web site I've known about for some years. This was a site where you could apparently submit non-fiction articles -- information, how-to, fact pieces, that sort of thing -- and people searching for web content would come along and purchase licenses to use it.

I dilly-dallied about joining. I've been a member of other sites where the carrot is that people will come along, see and buy, but I'd never seen a single sale. This site seemed different though. As I went through the list of authors, I saw hardly a one that hadn't sold at least one license.

I finally joined in early March this year.

is a huge site and it took me some time to get up to speed with the guidelines etc. Here, in simplest terms, is how it works:


1. You submit your writing via a form on the website.

2. It goes to an editor who accepts or rejects it.

3. If it's accepted, it's then online for the world of web content shoppers to see and (hopefully) buy.

You can sell previously published pieces -- articles, blog posts, reviews and tutorials -- as well as brand new ones. Of course you'll be charging more money for never-before-published content. I've submitted a little new content. But because I have many previously published articles in my files, I've been putting more muscle into getting them online and earning me a few shekels instead of laying around doing nothing.

The site does charge a commission. C-C takes 35% of the sale. Thus if you charge $10 for an article, you'll actually only make $6.50.

If you think writing articles on spec is a waste of time, C-C has a public request feature where shoppers can post their content requests. One then writes an article for their request hoping that they'll like yours and buy it, even though others may also be writing for that request.

Long story short, I sold my first Constant Content license at the end of March. One of the first articles I sold through CC is a piece I wrote some years ago but never managed to sell. I was pleased to see it finally find a home here. (Writers have no contact with the people who buy their content, however. You find things you've sold by searching your name or the name of the article after it's been bought.) And I got my first PayPal deposit yesterday (sales must total at least $50 before you get paid)! Thus I can tell you firsthand, it's legit.

So if your file cabinet or blog is full of good content, consider joining Constant Content. Submit your writing. Then sit back and watch it earn you a little cash.

(Note - I write at CC under a pseudonym.)

Monday, June 02, 2008

book review: The Venus Approach to Real-Estate Investing by Philipp & Sonneck


Title: The Venus Approach to Real-Estate Investing – America’s Most Successful Women Real-Estate Investors reveal it all: Trade Secrets, Stiletto Methods and Motherly Love
Author: S. A. Philipp & Barbara Heil Sonneck
Publisher: The Sternthaler Group (February 22, 2008), Paperback, 220 pages
Genre:
Business, Real estate, Self-help/How-to
ISBN
-10: 0981482503
ISBN-13: 978-0981482507

“I know a lot of people are unable to realize their true potential because they are simply afraid to step outside the box. If I did, you can too!” - Kathy Kennebrook, Marketing Magic Lady.

“It takes determination to succeed at any endeavor that is worth your time and effort.” - Joanne Musa, tax lien investing consultant.

“Knowing one’s strengths is the key. Know what skills you’re lacking, go out and find someone who has that skill set and add him or her to your team.” - Wendy Patton, licensed real estate broker and builder.


This is only a sample of the inspiration and advice found in The Venus Approach to Real Estate Investing – America’s Most Successful Women Real-Estate Investors reveal it all: Trade Secrets, Stiletto Methods and Motherly Love by S. A. Philipp and Barbara Heil-Sonneck.

Written to encourage and empower women to use the strengths and wiles of their femininity to become successful real estate investors, this 220-page paperback sandwiches the first-person stories of nine such successful female investors between introductory chapters with provocative titles like “Where Low Testosterone Equals a Vastly Different Investment Approach” and concluding chapters that discuss what it takes to be successful in the field.

The book is a combination of inspiration, motivation, persuasion, advice and how-to. In lively and always-understandable prose the authors present real estate investing as a viable and rewarding option for which women are ideally suited. The chapter "Do You Have What It Takes to be a Successful Real Estate Investor" takes a realistic look at the demands of the career. Challenges of the currently troubled real estate market are addressed in "Tap Into the Special Female Touch to Conquer Even a Down Market." The authors also provide realistic and cautionary advice in “The Million Dollar ‘Not To Do List,’” which contains practical pointers like, “Do not invest without a plan,” and “Do not underestimate renovating costs.”

The first-person stories illustrate the variety in the real estate investment business. But these women have much in common too. All show themselves to be dedicated, hardworking and in love with what they do. Also, the main reasons they give for going into the business (to provide for their families, to gain financial independence, to experience the fulfillment of helping others, and to maintain flexibility of work hours and place) are repeated in story after story.

The book is laid out clearly with headings in capitals and lots of white space separating blocks of text. An index at the end references mostly people, websites and organization names (although in the copy reviewed, the page numbers were a little off with the need to subtract 3 or 4 pages from the number in the index).

This book would make an excellent resource for any woman, old or young, with an interest in real estate investing. It contains enough information about the business and the qualities needed to be successful to tell the reader whether or not this career is for her. Additionally, the book has a wealth of web site information for those wanting to find out more about the book’s contributors and their specialties, and begin educating themselves.

The Foreword is written by Linda C. Fuller who, with her husband, founded Habitat for Humanity. In 2005 the Fullers launched The Fuller Center for Housing which focuses on providing houses for the poorest of the poor. Ten percent of the sales of The Venus Approach to Real-Estate Investing will be donated to The Fuller Center for Housing.

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