Monday, January 31, 2011

The Problem With Political Attack Ads: Truth

         "If we don't believe in freedom  of expression for people we dispise we don't believe in it at all." Noam Chomsky

All but a very few people know that political attack ads are purposely deceitful. To me, and I'm sure most other people the truth is an extremely valuable part of our society and how that society operates in a successful manner. So why do some politicians use negative attack ads which at times are composed of absolute lies?

         Now I admit that most of the time political attack ads don't bother me because I don't watch television. I am aware of attack ads because I read the newspaper and follow current events on the net. I like to read a wide variety of political commentary. It is healthy to read various political views and to read opposing views to your own. All good commentary and debate has the possibility to make us think and examine our own views and that's a good thing.

       Political attack ads seem to be used by those who are not able to support their own views with logic and evidence. Political attack ads are used by those who have an agenda which is not up front so the attack ads are used to make it look like their position is plausible. In other words weak ideas and weaker politicians resort to attack ads. Can't support the idea: attack the opposition on a personal basis. Make the opposition look like a weirdo or kook of some kind. So gobs of money is spent on attack ads which are not only mean and nasty but not very close to the truth and in some cases outright lies.

    So why has a bee got under my bonnet now to rant about political attack ads? Recently the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) ran an attack ad for one day. There was much criticism as people thought it was way over the line as far as truth was concerned. Questions were asked and then Michael Iggnateif came on saying, "Yes, Yes ,Yes." So things were obviously taken out of such context that there was a huge backlash to the ad. Oh yes, the CPC said they were only running it for one day????

    So why do people continue to support any  group which deals in untruths? Any group which deals in untruths should be severely punished at the ballot box no matter who they are. Truth has got to have some value to it. To me truth is crucial. We cannot allow political parties to use deceit any longer. Stand up for truth.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Old Guys Who Cross country Ski Shouldn't Fall

       Now I have posted about the great things about cross country skiing and have made my self out to be some sort of expert. But I have my limitations and I'll admit it. Yes, the old guy I fell today!

     Now for being 71 I consider myself to be in somewhat reasonable condition. I admit that when I get up off the floor it takes some effort. It's not like when I was ten and would bounce up off the floor without thinking.

     So you're saying , "What happened? Get on with your story." We have gobs of snow this year so it's excellent for cross country skiing. I've made a trail behind my house so that I can go out any time I have time. The trail is completely flat. But yesterday I suddenly went down. Now comes the fun part. How do I get up?

 The trail is hard packed. I went sideways. When I put my hands down to get up they just went down in the snow and I had no solid surface to push up from. My head was actually lower than my skis because I went down in the soft unpacked snow.. My skis were crossed. So after plunging around I said to myself wait a minute. Think! Oh ya! Get both poles on one side. Get your skis uncrossed. then pull yourself up by the poles. Up I got, full of snow.

      So a little excuse making. Usually I ski on groomed trails. These trails are even and hard. The trail I've made is uneven and the poles go down deep into the snow sometimes and then It throws me off balance. So sooner or later I was apt to fall. I know a lame excuse.

     So other than my dignity I was fine. I hope nobody was looking out their window to see me wallowing around.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Book Review: I Am Hutterite

        I am an avid reader. You can check my book list on the right side of my blog towards the bottom. A few books I read influence me to write a small review. Most books I just list as having read them.

       A book I finished reading today influenced me to post on it. The book I finished is called "I Am Hutterite" by Mary-Ann Kirkby.  It tells  "The fascinating true story of a young woman's journey to reclaim her heritage." That's what the blurb says on the cover but it tells much more than that. It also makes me think of my own journey and the journey that many people have in growing up.

     Mary -Ann describes in great detail the life on a Hutterite colony. Life on a Hutterite colony is highly structured. Their religious ideology which is built on communal living dictates daily living and all social interaction. For most Hutterites it is a very comfortable and supportive life.  For a few people who cannot fit into this closed structure life can be extremely uncomfortable and the option to leave is just as difficult.

    This is the situation that led Mary-Ann's father to "run away" from the colony. Mary-Ann then goes on to describe the struggle to make a life away from the structure of the colony. She misses the comfort and friends in the colony and finds it very difficult to fit into life outside the colony. She takes us through all the experiences of trying to fit into and be accepted by the world outside the colony. As I read I was continually predicting what was going to happen to Mary-Ann's journey. She survives and becomes a broadcast journalist. She has always gone back to the colony to visit relatives and friends. On one journey back she puts on Hutterite clothes and works with the women for a day. She finally comes to realize that even if she is not living communally she is still a Hutterite.

     So what Mary-Ann has done after many years is to discover  who she really is and she likes who she has found. What a great ending after a struggle that makes one feel great sympathy for the heart breaking experiences she met while growing up.

     I was also brought to think of my own struggle to grow up and find out who I really am. If you've read older posts I write about growing up on an isolated farm. We were further isolated by belonging to a very exclusive religious sect. My total thinking and judgement was influenced by this highly structured and rigid environment. I was a little peg who couldn't fit in and live in such a community. I felt extremely frustrated and angry. Some how I found booze and it jumped up and bit me in the butt. So I had another problem. I did discover myself and was happy with who I found and the booze problem left me. So I realize how difficult it must have been for Mary-An to make her journey.  

     I'm sure that many people face challenges when growing up. Some cope well and have a very happy ending as did Mary-Ann. I also look at the homeless people and can see that they carry a load of problems that they have not been able to deal with in a successful way.  

Monday, January 24, 2011

Dispicable Forward

        The other day I received a forward that firmly caught my attention. Most people who have email receive forwards from time to time. Forwards that I receive are usually humorous, artistic and positive. This Christmas there were many forwards making the rounds and I thoroughly enjoyed them. It's rather ingenious how Christmas topics are made from dogs, for example. Most of these I forward to people I know who would appreciate the humor or art.

      This week I received an pathetic forward from someone who mistakenly thought I might agree with the negative message. Some of you may have received the same forward long before I became aware of it.

      The forward was called "I'm Sixty-three and I'm Tired." It started out with a whiny pathetic little background to suck you into feeling sorry for this guy. He claims to have worked steadily except for five months after he finished college while he was looking for a job. Then he states that he has worked continuously since he was eighteen. Now a bigger red flag went up. He must have been a genius to finish college at eighteen!

      After that he just goes on to list the things he is tired of. He doesn't like paying taxes for those who are too lazy to work. Rather selfish guy!

      He doesn't like Muslims who do all kinds of dastardly actions. So he paints all Muslims as evil. So okay the guy is a racist. 

     The writer goes on with a litany of complaints. He has to work because the recent economic turmoil  has eliminated his savings. He was a Veit Nam veteran. He was a five term state congressman. None of this adds up. If he's accomplished all these things he should not be in a position where he cannot retire. So I became skeptical of his whole message which was one of racism. He tried the nicy nicy routine but ended up looking like an idiot.

      He's fooled many people as his piece is forwarded very often and has probably been going around for years.

     So I decided to reply to the sender who I know. We bickered back and forth a couple of times when he decided that he didn't want to discuss the issue any longer. He could see that he was on shaky ground and couldn't defend his position so the best thing for him was to dodge the issue.

     I am usually fairly tolerant of other views particularly if they are argued with some logic and backed by some research. This forward had none of these conditions and I couldn't let it go for a free ride. Ideas that are supported by inaccurate background should  not be tolerated and all of us should stand up and confront such feeble rants.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

CKUA: Great Radio Station For Music Lovers

       I have posted before about CKUA radio. A couple of comments recently have given me an excuse to plug this station again.

      CKUA is a station that receives much of it's funding from private donations. The station plays almost all genres of music. They don't just play music. They provide a tremendous amount of information about the music. That's what makes the difference. You can listen to your favorite music with a ton of interesting information to go along with it.

     So click on the link and take a look at this station. You might find something you really like.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

ipod Challenged

        A few posts ago I told you that Santa Claus was bringing me an ipod. Since Santa Claus isn't always punctual around my house, the ipod arrived about Jan. 10. Since I don't get up at 4:00AM to open Christmas presents, the package was not opened for a few days.

       Now I'm someone who when they get something electronic will check to see if there are batteries, install batteries and then find the switch, flip it to on and I'm on my way. Works every time.

      I knew that the ipod nano touch screen might be different. So when I opened it I looked first for the switch. To this date I have not found the switch. So plan B. Read the manual. The instructions were written on a small piece of paper in very fine print. No problem. Use my magnifying glass. To my great disappointment there were very few directions. I discovered that I had to download itunes. Just find itunes hook up the USB cable and follow prompts on the screen. I still wanted to look at  a manual. So down load the manual. To my disappointment I found that I had to have acrobat reader to download the manual. Price $199.00. Santa Claus didn't bring a manual. I'm not that confident that I will just download itunes and it's all done.

     Since I'm a stubborn old boot I will get this done sooner or later. I won't go across the street to my 14 year old neighbor who could solve all this in seconds. Not yet anyway.

    So very soon I will be enjoying music on my new touch ipod. I will also be extremely proud of how I got the ipod set up all by myself. I love listening to music so I will change all my cds to the ipod. Our local library has about 1000 cds so I will copy the ones I really like. I'm looking forward to finding more and new music to listen to. It will be so cool!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Excellent Bird Pictures Posted on Birds Calgary

      Just a heads up that Birds Calgary has posted a series of excellent bird pictures that they received in a bird photography contest. Check it out if you're interested in birds.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

More Winter Weather

        I have started some previous posts with, " When I started this blog I did not plan to write about..." So I did not expect to write about weather as often as I have lately. Of my last ten posts I think four have been on weather.

       Now I like the topic of weather. When I taught science at the junior high level I always tried to work in a unit on weather. The field trip to the weather station was always well worth it. I enjoyed watching every radiosonde balloon go up. (I'm just a old kid!) I took my private pilot license and thoroughly enjoyed the weather ground school. I have flown through all kinds of weather and been grounded by all kinds of weather.

      Weather is a common topic of conversation starter. I happen to think that our weather forecasts are fairly accurate so I have quite  few discussions with all the old boys who complain about poor weather forecasting.

Snow built up on a couple of planks.

Snow load on a bird feeder.

 My long sidewalk that I have to shovel.

 A neighbor's snow loaded trees.
      What I really wanted to comment on today is our recent long siege of snowy weather. We have had 21 cm (about 9 in.) of snow so far in Jan. Our average snow fall for all of January is about 15 cm.(about 6 in.) so as you can see we've had enough snow to talk about.

    Since we don't get a lot of snow here we sometimes don't have very good cross country skiing. Now we have excellent conditions. The trails have been groomed . All I'm waiting for now is a little increase in the temperature.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Red Deer City Budget:Kerry Wood Nature Center

       Red Deer city council is working overtime in preparing the city's next budget. They have done the infrastructure budget and now are working on the operating budget. It's a tough project for the council as there are many aspects to consider. It's very easy for one small action to affect something else which is totally unrelated. Hanging over their heads at all times is a group I call "the No Taxers." These people are brutal and freely criticize all and any decision showing a complete lack of knowledge and understanding. Unfortunately council has to keep these issues in the back of their mind and this influences budget decisions. These unjust critics want to make council feel as if they are wasteful and inefficient and they are quite successful in their endeavor.

      More than twenty years ago the Waskasoo Park system was established as a provincial project. The center of this is the Kerry Wood Nature Center. Once establishment of the park was complete it was turned over for the city to operate. The city in it's wisdom established a management board. The management board would submit a detailed budget to the city for council approval. Some things would be cut back and at other times the city could find money for special projects.

     The Nature Center over the years has developed many excellent interpretive programs . These programs have been much appreciated by the community. A nature nursery is one program that is a model to many other jurisdictions. The Nature Center has an active support group which raises extra funds. They have a casino every two years to raise funds. The nature center has no difficulty finding volunteers. You could say that this facility has strong community support.

     Now comes my complaint about this year's budget. A salary increase for the small nature center staff was rejected and the standard type keep up with inflation allotment was made. This has gone on for a number of years so this small staff has fallen behind to the point that it has become a very unfair situation. In one case someone at the same job description makes $11.00 per hour more with the city. These people basically work for the same employer.

     So I would strongly suggest to council that they take a second look at their decision and find it in their budget to compensate the Nature center staff so that they are on a more equal level with other city staff working at the same level. This would be a very small amount of dollars because there are less than ten employees. I'm sure that this small amount would easily be found in the city budget.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I Had a Stepmother

       When I was thirty-five years old, my Dad remarried and so I had a Stepmother.

       Dad remarried less than two years after my mother's death. It was a good move for him as he was totally lost and did not do well after my Mom's death. It was good to see Dad happy and alive again. My Step mom was six years younger than Dad and she was energetic and very happy to be married again after the loss of her husband two years previously.

    I obviously had been out of the nest for close to twenty years, had married and had two children. I was fully occupied with my own family and a busy career 

    A fine wedding was held and all my family were in attendance but one step brother did not attend as he was estranged from his family.

   I looked at the situation and was foolish enough to think that Dad and my Stepmom were "old" and I wouldn't have them that long and did not go out of my way to form a new relationship with them. We exchanged cards and letters. I lived 1600km away from them. They dropped in when they were travelling to the west coast. I saw them at my home town when we all attended weddings etc. I never did make the 1600 km trip to visit them.

     Time went on. Dad and my step mom had a great relationship. My step mom adored my Dad and took it upon herself to look after him to the best of her ability. Dad enjoyed our step mom's company and truly appreciated her efforts to treat him well. Our Step mom's grandchildren knew no other grandpa but my Dad and they loved him.

     Time went on longer than I expected it would. After spending fifteen winters in Arizona health became a factor and they stayed in Canada for their winters. By this time Dad was 86 and they had been married 23 years. Here's where it really got interesting. As Dad aged it looked as if he would someday need nursing home care. Dad sometimes said one thing but did not entirely have it in his head. Our Stepmom knew this . So she very skillfully asked all his children what she thought should be done. It was a no brainer. Dad was close to needing nursing home care as it was becoming too difficult for our Stepmom to look after him on her own. So by asking us for input she accomplished two things. She had support to move Dad to a nursing home when he would probably not want to go. She also had our commitment so that we had preapproved what she was going to have to do. No one would have any come back on her. Dad resisted going to a nursing home but all she had to say was, "The boys think you should be in a nursing home." He didn't argue much after that as he realized he did need nursing care.

    So in the end my Step mom showed to be a very astute and adept operator when it came to family dynamics. She sorted things out for all of us.

   I visited my Step mom in the last year of her life. She asked me one day, "What did you think when your Dad and I got married?" She really shocked me and caught me off guard. So I thought I better be absolutely honest because she probably knows my true answer. I told her that I thought their marriage wasn't going to be that long and that I was busy and far away and that I didn't really try to form a close relationship. I was absolutely blown over by her response. She said , "Well ,you know we had exactly the same idea." We both had a good laugh. So in the end I came to realize that I had a super Step mom who looked after my Dad with loving kindness and was smart enough to keep some distance from her adult stepchildren. and yet let them know that she was there for them.

     Now the marriage lasted for 31 years. Both expressed surprise when they celebrated a twenty-fifth anniversary and  we had a little family gathering . My Step mom's greatest disappointment was that she died before Dad and could not look after him in his final years. Dad lived another three years on his own in a nursing home where his sons and grandchildren visited him and saw that he was well looked after in the nursing home.

     So in the end I realized that I had an awesome Step mom for thirty-one years.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Watership Down by Richard Adams: a Very Good Read

     I just finished reading Watership Down. What a great story! I had always been familiar with the story and my daughter had read it. I was browsing through the library the other day and picked it up.

     Watership Down began as stories Adams told to his children as they were on car trips. When the kids were older they suggested that their Dad write down the stories. He finally did and then worked them into a major story.

      The characters in Watership Down are rabbits that have been given human personalities. However they are rabbits and Adams has been extremely diligent in researching and following rabbit behaviour. For example, he uses the keen senses of rabbits to navigate through some of the crises the group gets into. He also is very precise when it comes to plants in the habitat the rabbits are set in and how the rabbits use the plants. So there is much attention paid in the story to the setting and setting is used to move the story along as the rabbits travel to find a new place suitable to set up a new warren. All kinds of dangers lurk in the natural setting. Setting also plays an important part when they set out to obtain more females from another warren.

     The story begins when one rabbit in an established warren senses that there is some danger looming in the near future for the warren. He persuades some of the rabbits to leave and set up a new warren in a safe place. They successfully set up a new warren when it dawns on them that they have no females in the group and that without females their new warren will not succeed. They discover that a nearby warren which is tightly controlled by a head rabbit has extra females and they decide to get females from the neighboring warren. A first direct attempt to request females is refused. They then make a plan to go back to the warren and engineer an escape for females. This is a dangerous plan and there is much conflict during the event. After much hardship they get the females back to their warren.

     The warren they raided finds them and attempts to get their does back. After a terrible struggle the bad guys are defeated and Watership Down is established as free and happy warren.

    I read some fantasy and so I found this story very believable and easy to buy into the themes developed. So pick up Watership Down and enjoy a good story.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Severe Winter Storm in Central Alberta.

        So when I brag, as I did in my last post, I end up suffering a few days later when a severe winter storm comes into Central Alberta.. Jan. 6 was a beautiful winter day. I bragged about my nice weather. A gradual change took place on Jan.7. Clouds came in and in the evening we began to get light snow.

       Jan. 8 and 9 we  have had a severe winter blizzard. We've had high winds from about 30 kmh to gusts of 60 or 70kmh. This really blew the snow around and caused whiteout conditions in the country. Visibility in the city was down to between one half to one Km. We received about 20 - 25 cm of new snow. The snow is very dry and powdery at this time of year. Highways were closed and a large number of fender benders occurred.

      I didn't have to go anywhere so I could stay safely at home. Shovelling snow from the sidewalks and driveway gave me plenty of exercise. With the wind some of the snow had drifted and then it becomes somewhat hard so that it becomes much more difficult to shovel.

       So the next time I have a nice day, I'm going to keep my mouth shut and not brag about it.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Beautiful Winter Day in Central Alberta

        Today was a beautiful day in Central Alberta as the temperature was about 0 C (I know this one 32 F). There was a good stiff north west wind in the morning and most of the day was clear. An awesome winter day!

        What do you do on an awesome winter day? Well you guessed it...cross country ski. So I went out on my own private ski trail around the close behind my house. We had 5 cm of snow yesterday so conditions were about as good as they get. Since I've been out 5 or six times in the last 10 days I'm starting to feel in better condition.

       The usual magpies were out enjoying the day. A merlin showed up and the magpies got very excited. The merlin took a couple of runs at the magpies and got them screaming mad. The merlin left as I guess he thought the magpies were in too good of shape for him to handle. A few minutes later a pileated woodpecker showed up and checked out the Schubert cherry trees that are planted in the front of every body's yard. To finish the bird theme a lone raven flew over. So as well as a good ski it was fairly interesting bird wise.

     I also accomplished some stuff in the house. We took down the Christmas tree and decorations and stored them away. Home Farm Girl says never again! That's the last time she's doing Christmas decorations! But I've heard these oaths from her before and they are not serious. I also made a rhubarb stew for supper

     Today the sun sets at 4:39 PM . It's earliest setting here was 4:24  PM around Dec. 7 so you see the days are starting to lengthen ever so slightly as we've gained 15 minutes of daylight by my calculations. We haven't started to gain anything back in the morning as this morning the sun rose at 8:43 AM. I think tomorrow or the next day we finally gain a minute in the morning.

    So it was a day that makes for pleasant times during the winter.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Great Topic Machine

       The other day I noticed a comment on my niece's face book page that really got my curiosity going. She said right off the wall, " It appears that there will always be a lot of things in life that I'll never understand." I made the comment back, "Am I missing something here? I'm curious." My niece really surprised me with a list of things that genuinely puzzled her. These ranged the whole gamut from scientific to philosophical.

      Her list included things such as why do people wear jeans to a symphony concert?, how sound is recorded, life changes such as tadpole to fog and caterpillar to butterfly, why people suffer from others bad choices, plants surviving arctic conditions, man made highs and lows in the economy  and brutal things people do. This is a list that really makes one sit up and think. Each idea can lead off in hundreds of directions.

     I'm sure that for some of these questions Jocelyn will sooner or later find answers. Others will have to be open ended answers. What intrigued me was that she was thinking these thoughts and was smart enough to wonder out loud about them and then write them down. 

    So here I thought is a real topic generating machine. What great luck!

    I'm sure that many bloggers find it difficult to come up with topics for their blog. I found it easy in Dec. when I did a Christmas theme. I'm going to sit down and see if I can come up with other themes. Sometimes topics come easily. I usually like to find a topic and roll it around in my head for a few days. When I start writing most of it comes very easy. I do the usual deleting a sentence here and there and adding other things. Sometimes things have to be moved. I learned this year that at certain times I should make something into two posts instead of one.

     What really makes it easy is to have a bank of topics. So to start out 2011 I will have some topics to work with.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The New Year Milestone

        Some how or other I just couldn't bounce into the new year without some acknowledgement of the milestone. MK did the first post of 2011 with her usual thought provoking comments. I thoroughly enjoyed the piece but some readers were a little perplexed because it didn't sound like me. Sharp readers!!!

      For 2010 I struggled with some blogging challenges. I am somewhat limited when it comes to how blogger actually functions. As a result some of the things I set up or did not set up have puzzled me. Some of the things I am not aware of. I'm searching and learning. I'm still puzzled as to why when I follow someone blogger does not say that I have a blog. It only shows sites I follow. As a result some people don't realize that I have a blog so do not follow me. So If anybody has some hot tips I would be most appreciative.

     It's been interesting to watch what sells and what doesn't sell. Some of the things which bring readers have been surprising. Each of these events teaches me something.

     I've also discovered that I have to work harder to gain more traffic. I have been doing eight to ten posts a month. In December I worked harder and did 15 or 16 posts. I will have to make a list of things I should do on a regular basis. I have done some things with pictures and then forget for awhile. I also know that I should research and use links. Too often I get something in my head and run with it and then afterward say, "Oh, a picture would have been nice with this." To do pictures I find that I have to start with a picture and then plan the post as I did with the soapstone carvings.

     When I look back over the year I am amazed at how much was written and were the blog took me. I seem to wander widely when it comes to topics. If any one has ideas of what they would like to see changed on the blog let me know. I would look at it as constructive comment. I know that I have to do something with my title page to make it more attractive. One day I will be brave enough to dig in there and throw the thing away and start with something new and hopefully more pleasing to look at.

     Needless to say I have enjoyed the blogging for this year. I certainly look forward to another year. As always the readers make the blog so much more interesting. Thanks for dropping by Hiawatha House in 2010. Thanks for the comments which really keep me going and give me new ideas. 

      All the best to you in 2011!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Thoughts on the New Year

        Red asked me to write a message for the start of the new year...and I have been trying to think of something meaningful to say on the subject. My mind pretty much wandered over the usual things, like starting anew, resolutions, and all such things that I suppose most people consider at this time of year.
But then I got to thinking of things a tad broader, and perhaps more philosophical (or annoying?). Like, how do we really know what year this is? According to whose calendar? Calendars, after all, have been changed and adjusted over time, and vary from culture to culture. Many religions follow a separate calendar with other dates as "new year" markers, along with various traditions, festivities etc.
      Which leads to more questions... like, how does anyone know if any of these calendars are right? There are all kinds of accounts of ancient peoples and their star gazing accuracy, predictions and so forth. All the hype over the so-called "end of the world" coming thanks to the Mayan calendar, which presumably will stop counting time as of late 2012. I'm quite willing to bet there will be as much disappointment over that day coming and going as we experienced back with the Y2K scare. Which, incidentally, was out by a year anyway, as there was no acknowledged "year zero" in the Judeo-Christian calendar (the BC/AD thing, or, if you prefer, BCE and CE now) so therefore the new millenium actually started on January 1, 2001 - you need a full 1000 years to get there, you see. But, I digress.
       Back to the end of the world... likely more anticipation leading to a whole lot of nothing. And just imagine the disappointment and confusion for all those folks who were so counting on that day to be the end...and not being at all prepared for the next day when it comes! No disaster, no doom and gloom. What a letdown to see all the gadgets of the world carrying and functioning, and all these people going about minding their own business like any other day.
       Maybe the Mayans just ran out of space, or figured that working up to 2012 was pretty far enough into the future for their purposes, and left the rest to generations to come (who, of course, didn't - did they see that coming??) to figure out. Seems as silly as thinking that when your "modern" wall calendar is done on December 31st, there's nothing more to follow.
      This, of course, just leads me further into my questioning of time and our relationship to it. Certainly today doesn't feel different than yesterday. I don't feel different. It's much like your birthday; it's supposed to feel special, but somehow it just ends up another day. My dog certainly has no sense of any of this. The fact that we (struggled!) to stay up to midnight for a toast with our friends was completely lost on little Maggie; she had abandoned us for a comfy bed hours before we finally called it a night. She seems no worse today for having done so. I'm pretty sure a lot of people can't claim the same this morning! ;)
        In the end, yes, it's lovely to have another "new year" with new beginnings, where at least another 365 days of possibilities lie ahead, and there are things both known and unknown to look forward to. But for all the excitement and celebration, I do have to wonder how and why we are so tied to this strange certainty of time and place, when we really have no valid reference point to work from. And does it really matter in the end?
       Ah well, I need to get my new 2011 calendar up on the fridge, and start planning ahead for all the things that need to be done this year. Enjoy what you have, while you have it, whenever you may be!!