Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Special Olympics

Last night was the wrap up party for Special Olympics. We ate pizza, laughed and talked and then played "Duck, Duck, Goose". I was put in charge of explaining to the group how the game is played. So I stood up and proceeded to teach them how to play. When I got to the running part I told them to chase the person around the circle until they sit down. Ooops. One of the other coaches quickly jumped in to explain that "Noooo, you run the opposite way of the person who tagged you." All of a sudden all the special athletes starting laughing and teasing me, "What's wrong with you? Don't you know how to play Duck Duck Goose?" "It's a baby game and you don't know it!" I felt like I was stuck in some weird Adam Sandler movie and the hilarity of it all struck me as I stood in the circle being taunted by a group of special olympians. Now that's funny. Another funny thing? If "Duck Duck Goose" ever becomes an Olympic Sport, Korea is screwed because a certain teacher taught all her kids the wrong way.

Some of my Special Friends...

Caroline and...Caroline

Monday, June 26, 2006

Brotherly Love

I wonder how the conservative "Choose Straight" advocates will explain this one away?

Sunday, June 25, 2006

One of the best things about Calgary? What's outside of it.

We went camping in Kananaskis this weekend and it was incredible. I've always loved camping but the older I get, the more I appreciate the effect it has on me. My mind is more quiet when I'm outside and I feel so much more in tune with my own thoughts and the world around me.

When we got to our tent site, (which was the nicest camping spot Brian and I have ever had) we realized that the little portable barbecue was missing a crucial component and therefore would not be cooking any of our meals. I decided to try doing all the cooking over the fire and it turned out awesome. We had fresh fish with marinated veggies, mussels in the shell and garlic butter rice for dinner and a full cooked breakfast on Sunday. I don't know what it is exactly but food made outdoors always seems to taste better. Maybe there isn't any Teflon residue to numb my taste buds?

Here are some pics from our weekend:

Our camp spot was about 100 feet from the lake...what a view in the morning!

The hand of God?

Lower Kananaskis Lake at sunset...

The view from our tent window...

Friday, June 23, 2006

Summer Solstice

In an attempt to go back to our Pagan roots, Brian and I headed out to Big Rock (the closest thing we could find to Stonehenge) for a little midnight sun worship...

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Do these pants make my ass look fatwa?

I've been waiting for this for a long time. Yesterday, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani ordered a fatwa barring shiite Muslims from terrorist activities. Until the Muslim community comes out, vocally, against terrorism it will not stop. I realize that Muslims are reluctant to create or maintain ties between terrorism and Islam but the fact is, most people now see them as at least related if not synonymous. The Muslim community cannot continue to sit back and wait for political leaders and police authorities to catch and stop Islamic extremists. It must come from an overflowing of Muslim frustration. Muslims must speak to their own people and urge them in the name of their religion, to stop. This recent fatwa is a step in the right direction.

Muslims are probably the most scrutinized, profiled and discriminated against people on the planet right now. (Unless of course you're a gay native who practices Falun-gong)I know many Muslims and have traveled to Muslim countries where I have visited mosques and had religious discussions with Muslims about the state of Islam in the world today. I would like to think that I know better than to be scared when I see a Muslim man in an airport. And yet...when I was flying from Calgary to London a couple of weeks ago, a man with a long beard moved to the front of the plane, near the emergency exit, and began praying. As he kneeled and bowed repeatedly, facing what I can only imagine was East, the plane became visibly nervous. I myself was getting agitated. I kept thinking "We're flying into London in an hour...freakin London where all I ever hear about are Muslim terrorist plots and now this guy is praying in front of the entire plane. Is he making his peace with God just before he brings this thing crashing down into the city centre?!" I know I wasn't the only person thinking this because the people around me were looking a little nervous too. Does this make me a bad person? Have I bought into the stereotype that much? I was angry at myself for being so afraid. The man was very nice and was obviously not setting out to kill us all. He just wanted to pray in peace and talk to his God. The only thing that alleviated my guilt was the fact that the very nervous people to my right were Muslim too.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Hannah McGrath

Scotland was a blur. It was also an emotional roller coaster. Happy to see my Uncles and Aunt, sad to see Grandma so ill. Happy she was alive when I got there. Sad to think she would never make it back to her little apartment where we all camped out during our stay. Happy to get the chance to be there at all.

Grandma knew I had come to see her. Although she couldn't talk she was able to move and respond to voices. When I spoke to her and stroked her hair she struggled to talk to me. It was hard to see her so agitated and frustrated. We spent our days at the hospital, taking turns with Gran, talking to her, touching her, singing...whatever we could do to make her comfortable and let her know we were there. On my last day in Scotland I had to say good-bye. She managed to lift her head, turn and open her eyes...just enough so that I knew she knew. I cried and kissed her on her soft cheek and I walked away. She died on June 6th.

I feel so lucky that I was able to go and see her. My Grandma and I were very close and we spoke every week or two. It was always the highlight of my weekend...she always made me laugh and I was always so happy to hear her voice. Many people I have spoken to have been surprised at how close we were. I never saw Gran as an old person or called her out of a sense of duty. I saw here as a friend and a reflection of myself. She was my hero and my teacher and the most positive, funny person I have ever known.

Death is such a strange thing. As humans we have been practicing it for millions of years and yet, nobody really knows how to deal with it yet. I don't feel sad for Grandma because I know that she had a good life. Yes, I would have liked to have her around longer, heck I would have wanted her here forever but things just don't work that way. She wasn't afraid of death and she didn't suffer. When she died she died in peace with her kids holding her hand. It doesn't get much better than that. I grieve more for my own Mum and for myself because we will miss her. It's been hard not to consider the obvious consequence of this, which is an upward shift in generations. Now my Mother is the oldest generation and as I stood there watching my Mum cry over my Grandma's bed I knew that one day that would be me, and then my daughter. The circle of life just got a little smaller.