Thursday, May 31, 2012

Female Genital Mutilation or FGM

Was reading an article on FGM on AlJazeera yesterday. It amazes me that in this day and age, and in any country the people who do this end up living, this abomination still occurs. It seems to me like such a violation of human rights. How can one be a mother and let this happen to your child?  I can't personally think that it is normal to have your daughter cut with a razor blade or broken glass to remove all her protruding female parts? And by people you trusted? How do you ever trust your mother again?

The irony is that FGM is supposedly done to keep women faithful and from having sex outside of marriage. Here's the thing I doubt it prevents prostitution in the countries where the practice is prevalent. I'm sure it also doesn't prevent adultery. Women will have sex to please the male they like, despite whether or not they will enjoy the sexual act. So other then mutilate female bodies, FGM accomplishes very little. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Casseroles night in Canada

Pots and Pans video in Quebec goes viral

Montreal suffers flash flood

Flooding in Verdun near de l'Eglise. Photo by Nina Haigh

Several people were getting their cars towed in Verdun, photo by Nina Haigh.
Parts of downtown and low lying suburbs like parts of Verdun were flooded following a wall of rain that dropped between 50-100cm of rain in a short time. Meteorologists say that this kind of rainfall happens once every 10 years in the Montreal area.  

Where I live in Pierrefonds, other then a few larger then normal puddles, there was no flooding.  Heck I'm happy I live in a low-lying area in Pierrefonds, my street didn't flood, nor did my basement. I guess the 2 sump pumps did their jobs!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Casserole night in Canada :)

Nous sommes inspiré(e) par la grève étudiante et le mouvement populaire du Québec contre la loi 78 et contre le gouvernement Charest. Mercredi le 30 mai, à partir de 20h, les gens de partout au Canada montreront leur solidarité en faisant entendre un tintamarre de casseroles, joyeux oui, mais qui symbolisera aussi notre colère et notre exaspération. Ce sera la première de plusieurs soirées de tintamarre à travers le Canada. Une fois que nous aurons atteint la victoire quant à la hausse des frais de scolarité et que la loi 78 sera abrogée, nous pourrons aussi stopper Harper ensemble!"

Monday, May 28, 2012

Syrian government forces executing civilians in front of UN

Forces loyal to Bashar al Assad are responsible for the massacre in Houla, a group of villages near Homs. Most of those killed were summarily executed. So far the only 'armed gang' in Syria that I know that does this is government loyal forces composed of Shabiha.

It's pretty sad that despite the presence of the UN, that people are still executing others. And Bashar never changes his old worn out tune of blaming his opponents and "armed gangs". Yeah armed gangs that he armed and does his bidding. 

My heart goes out to the grandmother in Houla who heard all her family get executed, and managed to stay hidden. May you get justice. My heart goes out to all the Homsis. No one should have to endure the kind of oppression brought upon by the Syrian regime.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The media and the rest of Canada have the Quebec student protests all wrong

Great blog via Huffington Post discusses how the media, and in my opinion, the rest of Canada have the Quebec student protests all wrong. 

Editorial cartoon from "Le Devoir" - Caricature du Devoir

Also amusingly, in the past couple of weeks, suddenly articles about Canada and Quebec have appeared in Al Jazeera. Here is there latest.  Usually they never write about us because we're too boring :)

Butterflies at Parc National des Grands-Jardins

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Nightly protests and percussive civil disobediance

Most mornings now I sift through dozens of news articles on the events of the night before. One of the fears that came through last night is that the nightly protests will have a serious impact on Montreal's tourist season.  It really doesn't help that some journalists have written pretty one sided pieces making Montreal sound like Russia.

What's for sure is that there are nightly protests. Not just marches but people in various towns and cities are picking up pots and pans and spoons and making lots of noise at 8pm. It has yet to spread to my Montreal suburb but it's just a matter of time.  It's an activity that can include every member of society from babies to grandparents!

I haven't gone downtown with my vehicle in some time and don't intend to. Going downtown by train will remain my preferred method of travel.  As it goes, if you use underground public transport like the metro or the train, you can get around Montreal with the minimum of disruptions caused by the ongoing protests. 

Montreal is the city of festivals, perhaps this summer it will be mainly the festival of the pots and pans with whatever repercussions it might have on our tourism. 

What started in Montreal with the Occupy movement has now fuelled the student movement and will continue because people are fundamentally unhappy with how our governments work.

First there was the Arab spring now there's "le printemps érable" :)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I photographed Ste-Anne's

Church in Ste-Anne-de-la-Perade

Ste-Anne-de-Beaupre cathedral.

Ste-Anne-de-Beaupre cathedral

Lots of arrests in La Belle Province last night..

Over 500 people were arrested in Montreal and Quebec city last night.  I've got to wonder, like some of those who were arrested at Occupy Montreal, how many of those arrested last night got UV tagged?

Anyone who gets arrested at protests should check their hands under UV light if they get the chance!

I stood outside at 8pm, and it was very quiet. No one in my neighbourhood was banging on pots and pans I was disappointed I must say. Just a couple of dogs barking back and forth and being annoying :( I banged my pot a few times and went back inside.

This is the route the students were going to take :)

Rash on my arms for the past 2 days

Don't quite know what to make of the rash on both of my arms that I noticed around lunch time yesterday right after  I went for a 15 minutes walk around the building in the sun.

I'm pretty sure it's either a heat or sun rash.  The weird part is I don't recall ever having a sun rash. I'm not on any medication either.  I was reading on sun rashes, it happens to fair people, I'm quite fair, but usually stops by age 40, I'm nearly 50. 

Admittedly my arms were the most exposed to the sun last weekend, I wore tops that had very short sleeves. The arm that is the worst is my driving arm. But I did wear sunblock every day except Monday the day I was driving home.  The other thing I wore on my arms was bug spray in the evening, Citrobug.

So is it a reaction to the sun, the sunscreen, the bug repellent? Who knows! But it's the 2nd day I have a bumpy rash on the top of both arms, that makes them look sunburned, because it's reddish. 

Someone suggested that it could be stress... but then why just on my arms?

My arms itch and burn at this point and I try to ignore it as scratching or rubbing tends to make rashes worse, or turns little spots into hives. 

EDIT 10AM - It's definitely a sun rash. I noticed it's also on my neck front and back. This is mostly where I was exposed to sun yesterday in my walk, and rash got worse on left arm when I drove to work and it was in the sun the whole time. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bang on your pots and pans.

Interesting editorial about Quebec students

One of the complaints I have about reading AlJazeera is that usually it never reports much about Canada. I realize we are a small boring country but still :)   As it goes, in the past week or two there has been at least 3 different articles in AlJazeera about the situation with the Quebec students.  This one that I read today is an interesting read especially coming from a newspaper from halfway across the world.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

100 days of student protests

Today at 2pm is going to be one of the biggest student protests yet, to underline 100 days of student protests and to complain about law 78. I was reading this morning that there is a group calling itself the white block that is trying to help prevent vandalism and violence. Apparently they would stand in front of stores/banks while marchers go by to prevent vandalism that has been seen. 

I'll say it again, I'm all for PEACEFUL PROTESTS and I support the students so long as they are peaceful.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Saturday we travelled to Parc Grand-Jardins

As always whenever I go somewhere I always seem to find the worst way. I had google mapped the directions and apparently perhaps because I chose to travel on the north shore with the 40 rather the on the south shore with the 20 and re-adjusted, it sent me to Parc des Grand-Jardins through the Laurentide Wildlife reserve. It was the path less travelled. In fact we spent maybe two hours driving on a dirt road in the forest through the wildlife reserve.  In some areas we drove through there was still over a foot of snow.

Second time this year it's warn enough to wear sandals and there is snow on ground :)

The animals  I saw in the wildlife reserve included a couple of wild partridges, several porcupines, and the rear quarters of  a young moose as he ran down a side road as I drove past.  One animal that was just about everywhere I went was the crow.

Crow flying around the top of Mont-du-lac-des-Cygnes
At the camp site I saw 3 times a hummingbird, several sizes and styles of butterflies, squirrels, chipmunks, hare, toad and crows.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

La loi 78 a pas les effets voulu!

As summer approaches my sleep always decreases.

I like the longer days and the more light, but sadly the more light there is the less I sleep.  I tend to get severe insomnia the closer we get to the month of June. I was exhausted last night and fell asleep around 2am. I was awake by 5:30 AM, probably some stupid bird outside woke me up. I stayed in bed till 7ish trying to get more zzzz's but sadly, between the cats, the birds and whatever else, I couldn't sleep again.

I hate that. Boy do I hate it and then I get told I'm cranky and to get some rest. Easier said then done when you can barely sleep.

Today we're driving to Parc National des Grand-Jardins up in the quebec wilderness. I can't wait. I hope I won't be too incredibly tired.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Canada geese

Usually it's ducks that visit the pool in the spring, but this year there were Canada geese along with their 3 babies hanging out the front lawn between the two buildings.  I knew in french they were called "outarde". Had not realized it was Canada geese in English.  Learn something new every day.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Quebec's striking students

I've read more about our striking students then most. Some commentary from across Canada is purely vitriolic. Some comment that the Quebecois are just a bunch of whiners and spoiled brats. That this whole distinct society is being payed by the rest of Canada.I find that comment interesting as Quebecois like other Canadians pay their taxes. It amazes me when other Canadians suggest we stop transfer payments to Quebec because of the students strike.

Perhaps there is no such thing as free education in North America and we all know Quebec has the less costly education, however it doesn't mean that scolarity fees need to increase by 82%.  There are countries in this world that offer free education even at the University level. The nordic countries, like Norway, Finland, Sweden and Denmark have free education, in some cases even for students not from their country!  There's also Greece, Brasil, the UAE, Sri Lanka and the list goes on. 

One thing that came out of Quebec's Revolution Tranquille was  some of the lowest university fees in North America, including mostly free CEGEP education.  The ultimate goal was free education.  Just because the rest of North America has a different stance, doesn't mean Quebec students should change their perspective or aspirations.

One article I read yesterday, I found interesting, he suggests students shouldn't be protesting about the fees, but about the quality of the education they receive. That quality education includes degrees that will generate jobs at the end of the line. Many liberal arts degrees tend to send you to a McJob.

Personally I have no problems with the striking students. I have a problem with the minority who feels the need to break things and attack people.  I'm all for peaceful protests and support those students peacefully protesting.

However those who break things downtown should be arrested like any other vandal, just cause or not.  What gives you the right to break other people's property to make a point?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I hate season finales....

Heck, I hate series finales.  A couple of weeks back it was the last episode of In Plain Sight. I'm going to miss that show. And  I watched the season finale of NCIS. Damn. Did Ducky have a heart attack? And how are those in the NCIS building? Who's dead?  Like wow. 

Now I have to wait all the way till September to know if my favourite character, Leroy Jethro Gibbs, is ok, I know,... such hardship! 

I only watched like a third of the last episode of Bones and just could not keep watching, so I might actually wait till September to watch it. Yes I'm really weird. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

The cats love the opened patio door and the safety of the patio screen :)

The three amigos, feeling safe behind a bug screen!

The three amigos looking up

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Flowers from the unzen garden.

Vinca minor

All the other forget me nots are blue, but this one is pink :)

The weird trillium on my property.

Gardening should be zen

I generally enjoy gardening, except the past few years. I don't enjoy it as much. Mostly because I go out on my property to garden and one of three things happen. One of my neighbours decides s/he wants to chat, or my neighbours kids are out on their property and screeching while playing , or lastly, the neighbours dog barks non stop because he feels I'm on his territory. 

So gardening in my own yard loses it's zen. There's also the neighbours mowing their lawn or cutting down a tree, or leaf blowing that could also spoil the mood, because it's loud and obnoxious.

Of course now that I'm inside I'm not hearing the screaming kids anymore, but I'm kinda turned off. I like to start working on weeding or cleaning a flower bed and just getting lost in my mind while I just work. I never get the chance, I keep being assaulted by sounds and stimulation that I desperately do NOT NEED!

I look forward to being in the middle of nowhere so that I can be zen in my own garden. Heck I could be naked in my garden and no one would know or care for that matter!!!

Happy mother's day

I was reading that the woman who started "Mother's day", didn't like how it got commercial pretty quickly and spent the last years of her life, trying to kill the concept of "Mother's day"

Flowers were associated with Mother's day from the very beginning and florists of course loved the concept. Yet another reason people flock to their stores to purchase flowers.

I already got a mother's day card and present about 2 weeks ago, so I'm not expecting to hear from anyone today.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Smoke bombs in metro = mischief, not terrorism.....

You can see the terror in the people in the metro right?
Un message circulant présentement à travers Facebook:

J'attire votre attention, vous les étudiants sur le fait que la mafia gouvernementale n'a aucune gêne à utiliser contre vous des armes létales dont un de vos co-porte-parole à Victoriaville a faillit perdre la vie et exige de vous dissocier et de dénoncer la moindre action non publicisée par vos porte-parole. On appel ça diviser pour régner.

Comme retraité de la STM, je peux vous confirmer qu'il y a des activités de nuit qui génèrent beaucoup plus de fumée qu'une banale bombe fumigène sans aucun danger et les postes de ventilation pouvaient éliminer toute fumée en moins de 30 secondes. De plus on ne ferme jamais les stations pour un suicide qui passe souvent inapperçu. Donc ce jeudi matin les policiers n'avaient aucune raison de fermer toutes les lignes du métro si ce n'est le désir gouvernemental d'ameuter abusivement la population contre vous.

Je vous invite donc à cesser de vous soumettre à toutes les demandes démagogique du gouvernement corrompu. Dans le passé, les syndicats ont fait bien pire et ont exigés l'abandon de toute poursuite. Je vous invite à faire de même et de ne plus être duppe des opérations et manipulations purement criminelles de ceux qui nous gouvernents.

English Translation [Mostly from google so it's not perfect]

A message currently circulating on Facebook:

I draw your attention,  to you students to the fact that the mafia government does not shy to use lethal weapons against you which one of your co-spokesperson in Victoriaville has almost lost his life and requires you to separate and to denounce any action not publicized by your spokesman. We call it divide and conquer.

As a retiree of the STM, I can confirm that there are night activities that generate a lot more smoke than an ordinary smoke bomb without any danger and the positions of ventilation could eliminate smoke in less than 30 seconds. Also we never close the stations for a suicide that often goes unnoticed. So Thursday morning the police had no reason to close all underground lines except the government desire to stir up the people against you unfairly.

I invite you to stop   submitting to all the demagogic requests of the corrupt government. In the past, unions have done much worse and have required the dropping of all charges. I invite you to do the same and no longer be dupe of the purely criminal operations and manipulations of those who govern us. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

More blasts in Damascus kill many

The regime is up to it's old tricks again. Whenever it seems the opposition is getting too much sympathy the regime places bombs around their own infrastructures to pretend it's the opposition setting the bombs. 

The reality is, most of the time, the areas where the bombs happen are in heavily guarded areas, where due to the checkpoints it would be impossible for the opposition to set the bombs. Also noted this morning by the opposition, how come some of the dead from the blast, had their hands tied behind their backs and the injuries on their bodies look more like they were caused by torture then by roadside bombs. It's all note worthy in any case.

I keep praying for this evil regime to fall.

The times they are a changing.....

It's not looking good for Syria. Not only is it tense in Syria with the opposition being more heavily armed then before, with sectarian undertones, but this peace plan has not been adhered to. Not really. The army seems to go there the UN isn't kinda thing.  Then there was those elections yesterday. How can they say these were democratic elections?

So although I will keep hoping for Bashar Al-Assad and his regime to fall, I'm not sure how long that will take and if it will take the whole region into war, or if it will stay inside Syria. Hard to tell, but it looks grim. It doesn't help that even the activists outside Syria don't see eye to eye on certain issues and it creates tensions even in Montreal.

Then there's the student strike in Montreal in it's 13th week.  The students aren't backing down. It sucks however that they want to ban people from protesting anonymously.   As a friend pointed out, she always has a bandana with her and she will put it over her face if she sees police using pepper spray.  Now it will be illegal?  I'm noticing our rights being eroded just a little bit at a time, this way no one really pays attention.  Soon it will be completely illegal to protest just you watch?

North Carolina has banned gay marriages, but you can marry your first cousin, just not your double cousin..... and it's weirder.   I had a good giggle. I don't ever intend to live in North Carolina.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

ADHD and self control

Another short video clip where Dr Russell Barkley talks about ADHD, this time about self-control.


One more, short video, also about emotions, moods and emotional impulsiveness in ADHD.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

ADHD and Raw Emotions

I've spent most of my life being told to control my emotions. That my reactions were too intense. That I needed to fix that. Everyone complains about it.  Dr Russell Barkley explains so well what happens to me in this video.

He explains my raw emotions, and the fact I'm extremely excitable without having a mood disorder. I apparently do a good job at controlling it some, since I've been working at the same company for 20 years and have yet to throttle a supervisor :)

Monday, May 07, 2012

Interesting representation of Kali

The artist is called Jamie Lee, and I really love his representation of Kali and of Shiva as well.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Tulip Little beauty

From my backyard, I love those little tulips.

Another nasty law about to be passed under our noses....

Proposed law -
Backbencher's bill on masked protesters gets Conservative backing
Ottawa- The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, May. 06, 2012 1:57PM EDT
Last updated Sunday, May. 06, 2012 2:06PM EDT
The Harper government is throwing its weight behind a private members' bill that would give police the power to arrest anyone hiding their identity during a riot or unlawful assembly.

Conservative backbencher Blake Richards is proposing penalties of up to five years in prison or a fine of up to $5,000 for protesters who wear a mask or disguise.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has formally announced the Conservative majority will support the legislation, meaning it is all but assured of becoming law.

Mr. Richards says the bill is designed to give police more power to prevent the kinds of riots that have caused so much damage, including the current student riots in Quebec, the Stanley Cup riot of last spring in Vancouver and the G20 protests in Toronto two years ago.

Mr. Richards says he sees the bill as primarily preventative in nature, allowing police to step in before violence and property damage escalate.

But civil libertarians are concerned that the legislation will give police the power to break up peaceful protests, which are frequently filled with people in costumes, masks or even face paint that could be construed as concealing identity under the new law.

Here is a link to a page that helps you beat facial recognition software even if you cannot mask yourself. 

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Active in pregnancy is healthy

I couldn't believe that a pregnant woman who was jogging,  was called a selfish cow, by another woman. People have some weird ideas about pregnancy and what women should do while pregnant. 

The saying about eating for two is a fallacy. My OBGYN used to say don't eat for two, eat twice as well. Also in all the books I've read, it says that if you were active and exercised regularly before pregnancy you should continue to do so while pregnant, with some exceptions such as contact sports like hockey. But sports like jogging, with your doctors blessing is a big help while pregnant. 

Other weird misconceptions is that if you're petite, you won't be able to give birth to a normal sized child. I beg to differ. Despite being all of 5' nothing and weighing about 98 lbs when I first got pregnant, I was able to deliver a 7lb baby girl as my first and a 9lb 10 ounces baby girl as my second. I delivered both vaginally without any complications, epidural or forceps. 

Then there was the idea that I wouldn't be able to breastfeed my children because I didn't have large breasts. Well after giving birth I had much bigger breasts and they provided sufficient nourishment to both of my daughters the first few months of their lives, along with healthy antibodies. 

Another misconception, as long as you breastfeed, you won't get pregnant. Well it might be true for some women, but in my case, although I breastfeed both daughters, I had my period again 3 months after the birth of my first.  The down side to this is that the days where my period was heavy I hardly had any milk to feed my baby. 

Passenger train bridge to Ile Bigras

Serenaded at a spring pond in the woods near the White Horse rapids in Pierrefonds

I'm not sure what type of bird serenaded us, but isn't it pretty? 

Edit: 09/05/12 - I think it was frogs that were singing. 

Friday, May 04, 2012

It's just amazing things that can be found in a woman's purse.

Some of the contents of my friend's purse!
When we went shopping Tuesday night, my gf complained that her purse was heavier then usual. I tried lifting it, it weighed a ton. She did remove 2 cans of soup she had in there the next day, but did clean out the purse when we got back from Ikea.  The photo includes some of the things that she pulled out of her purse. 

Yes.. including a rubber duck! I always carry my rubber duck in my purse - because rubber ducky, you're the one..... and if I took a random bath, I'd need my rubber duck :)

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Giant Tiger - revisited - Tigre Geant

So for the 2nd time in about a year I've ended up at the Giant Tiger in Ville St Laurent. This time I was a little happier with this store then last time. 

I actually bought a dragonfly wind chime and a Navajo print top for the summer.  I still find it small compared to a Zellers and a Walmart, but if I think back of the stores of my childhood, like Rossy and the like it's similar.

We could not believe how many people there were. We ended up waiting in line at the cash for a long time, considering it was lunch time? We even had to wait for the changing rooms.